I accepted MSHDA’s challenge to discover why we should be proud of Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness and I can’t wait to share what I learned.
Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness
Of the three posts the Michigan State Housing Department Authority (MSHDA) has sponsored, Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness was the most difficult to write. When I reviewed the material MSHDA provided, my head swirled with statistics like:
- “There are around 86,000 people experiencing homelessness in Michigan, enough people to populate a large city. Over one-third of the homeless are working poor, and nearly 60 percent are female heads of households.”
- “In 2016, there were 9,795 families with children who experienced homelessness. Families experiencing homelessness are primarily single-parent households with 3/4 of those households being female-headed.”
Ignoring the swirling statistics, I clicked the keys on my computer and did my homework. Eventually, the statistics morphed into reasons to believe Michigan and its residents will eradicate homelessness. The reasons blurred my vision with tears. Grab a hankie, because your heart will swell with pride when you read about the homeless services and housing programs Michigan is providing which are a critical safety net for people experiencing homelessness.
Michigan Ability Partners
“Michigan Ability Partners (MAP) creates opportunities for Veterans, people with disabilities, mental illness, addictions, and those experiencing homelessness.” In 2015-16 they served over 1,500 people needing housing services. Their annual report is jammed with statistics and their Facebook Page is decorated with success stories. Here are just a couple.
Humans of MAP: Ashley
“Ashley, a US Navy veteran and single mom, had been homeless for 7 months. A Michigan native, she was a victim of domestic violence and staying in a shelter. There, she was referred to Eric Hendershot at MAP, who leads our housing services for Vets. Eric helped her apply for an apartment, advocating to the landlord on her behalf, and helped her move in!”
Humans of MAP: Douglas
Douglas says “People need to understand that homeless people did not ask to be homeless. Sometimes people make bad decisions. They trust and rely on the wrong people. There a lot that more that can go wrong in life job, health, mental health. A lot of people need help.” He states that “We need to open up institutions, there’s a lot of 17 and 18 year olds at the shelter. They are getting younger and younger. Being homeless can put a lot of stress on your body and people look at you like you are a disease.”
“In 2016, Kent County became the first community in Michigan to achieve the Ending Veteran Homelessness designation from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. This means they achieved functional zero* for ending veteran homelessness. There are 50 other communities and three states across the nation that have received this federal designation. *Functional zero is reached when the number of veterans who are homeless, whether sheltered or unsheltered, is no greater than the monthly housing placement rate for Veterans.”
How can you help?
The easiest way is to understand who the homeless really are.
“One of the biggest obstacles that homeless people face is that of public misconceptions about the causes of homelessness. It’s easy to dismiss the homeless population as a group of people who made bad decisions and somehow “deserve” to be without homes. That perception is what keeps much of the public from actively trying to help.
The truth is that when we talk about “the homeless,” we’re talking about a wide variety of people; veterans, single mothers, people with disabilities, families living in their cars, and people who simply lost their jobs and homes during a tough economy and weren’t able to get back on their feet quickly enough.”
If you have got time or resources to give, please do. Michigan Campaign to End Homelessness (MCTEH) has a list of ways you can get involved.
Thank You MSHDA
Thank you MSHDA for the opportunity to learn about Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness. Writing about homelessness wasn’t easy but today I have in my head a completely different understanding of who is homeless.
Other MSHDA sponsored posts:
Post sponsored by MSHDA.
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