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Report: Housing program helps Michigan decrease homelessness by 6%

Sep 22, 2016

Homelessness in Michigan is dropping.

That's according to a 2015 report by Ending Homelessness in Michigan. They found the number of homeless residents decreased by 6% in Michigan to 69,163 people.

They says the decrease is partially attributed to a shift from emergency shelters and street outreach to a U.S. Housing and Urban Development program called "rapid re-housing." The program targets individuals and families who can quickly find housing by using funds from HUD.

In a press release, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority's Kelly Rose said:

“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,” 

The report contributes two additional factors to the homeless dip.

First, emergency housing solutions like short-term emergency shelters were preserved and helped coordinate the rapid re-housing efforts. 

Second, a new tool — the Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool — has been implemented since 2014. According to their website, the tool helps prioritize who's served first and best benefits from resources like rapid re-housing.

More from the press release:

"Housing is an essential foundation for our work in helping Michiganders become self-sufficient and achieve success," MDHHS Director Nick Lyon said. "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."

 

The 69,163 homeless residents are classified as Category 1 Homeless: people "literally living in shelters and on the street." Comparatively, Category 2 Homeless are people with "documented eviction and no place to go."

The report cites its data from the Michigan Statewide Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), where local homeless services enter information into the system. Eighty-three percent of homeless people are reportedly accounted for in this system.

Michigan's trend follows a national decline in homelessness since 2012.

A report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness reported 17.7 homeless residents for every 10,000 American people. The same report quotes Michigan below the average at 10.6.