The overall homeless population in Michigan has declined for the third year in a row, according to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority annual report released Wednesday.
Officials say they have seen 20 percent decrease in chronic homelessness.
The steady decline is primarily due to state and local efforts the House First model, according to the department. The model moves people to housing as quickly as possible while providing physical and mental health support.
“Housing is fundamental to the overall health and well-being of Michigan’s residents,” said Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Our department manages more than $30 million in funding for outreach, shelter and permanent housing resources so that we can assist residents in removing any barriers to housing security.”
The state's response to homelessness expands into healthcare and employment opportunities to increase access to stable income.
This is especially important because the statewide Homeless Management System (HMIS) shows the average income for a person experiencing homelessness is $649 a month, while the 2017 Census Bureau data puts median rent in Michigan at $835.
In addition to rent overburden, action is needed to create innovative housing solutions for people with disabilities. The top three disabilities affecting Michigan’s homeless population include mental health (66%), physical health (39%) and substance use disorder (29%). In September, MSHDA’s Board approved more than $5.1 million in grants related to addressing homelessness, the bulk of that amount––$4.8 million––went to Emergency Solutions Grants that fund work to rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families and homeless prevention efforts, among other services.
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