Michigan making progress on ending homelessness

Media Contact: Misty Miller

September 21, 2016

Statewide Summit highlights successes, action plan for future improvements

KALAMAZOO, MICH. – Michigan has seen a significant reduction in veteran and overall homelessness, according to a report released today during the 2016 Summit on Ending Homelessness.

The Ending Homelessness in Michigan 2015 Annual Report shows Michigan has experienced a 6 percent dip in homelessness and 15 percent decrease in veteran homelessness, based on the annual homeless count. The report, compiled by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), also shows investing in permanent housing programs and targeting housing assistance for those most in need is having a positive impact.

“We are making strides in ending homelessness. By continuing to invest in permanent housing resources, embrace change and improve our system, we will succeed at preventing and ending homelessness in Michigan,” said MSHDA Chief Housing Solutions Officer Kelly Rose.

Kevin Elsenheimer, Michigan State Housing Development Authority executive director, and Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, kicked off the two-day summit that focuses on best practices to end homelessness in Michigan. They shared highlights of the state of homelessness in Michigan and the Campaign to End Homelessness’ three-year action plan.

“The strategic plans have been created and are set in place across Michigan to end homelessness and it’s now time to implement them,” said Elsenheimer. “This Summit brings together the right people who have the right ideas to make ending homelessness in Michigan a reality.”

The release of the action plan creates the framework for accomplishing the goals of preventing and ending homelessness in Michigan. These objectives identify the high-level system changes needed to facilitate increased access to affordable housing, economic security, health care and all-around stability for the populations most at need. The report identifies steps that could be taken collaboratively by federal, state and local leaders to address the wide range of needs for those identified as at-risk.

”Housing is an essential foundation for our work in helping Michiganders become self-sufficient and achieve success,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon. “The need for stable housing cuts across our child welfare system, our public assistance programs, the substance use and behavioral health system and improving our health care system. We are committed to working with MSHDA and our other partners to address homelessness.”

The Summit on Ending Homelessness is held annually to create a framework for accomplishing the goals of preventing and ending homelessness in Michigan.

Dr. Jim Withers, recognized for establishing the International Street Medicine Symposium a decade ago to foster collaboration in the care of those sleeping in the streets, delivered today’s keynote address.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.