LANSING (WWJ) – A new report shows the number of Michigan residents who were homeless in 2011 was lower than the year before.
The report, presented by leaders of Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness, shows that there were 6,143 fewer Michigan residents who were homeless for any part of 2011 than who were homeless during 2010.
A total of 94,033 people were homeless in Michigan sometime in 2011, according to data compiled by the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness. That was down from 100,176 in 2010.
All of the figures are from the Homeless Management Information System, which is used in communities across the state to track the numbers of homeless individuals and the services that they receive.
This six percent reduction between 2010 and 2011 is strong evidence that the strategies of prevention and rapid re-housing are helping individuals and families find and sustain stable places to live. The number of households that had retained their housing after seven months increased from 74 percent in 2009 to 89 percent.
The biggest improvement came in an 8.7 percent reduction in the number of families who were homeless. The number of single individuals who were without housing declined by 3.2 percent.
The report also shows that approximately 52 percent of the homeless were in families, disproving the myth that most people who are homeless are single males.
Homelessness declined in six of the eight regions in Michigan. The biggest improvements were in South Central Michigan (18.8 percent), West Central Michigan (11.8 percent) and the Upper Peninsula (10.4 percent).
In the past three years, 70 percent of those who made use of homeless shelters did not return to shelters anywhere in the state once they exited the shelter. That’s strong evidence that the focus on finding long-term stable affordable housing and providing support services is making a difference.
The Campaign to End Homelessness, launched in 2006, is a statewide effort to ensure safe and stable housing for all state residents, one individual and one family at a time. The campaign emphasizes cooperation and collaboration by more than 600 partner agencies and by the workers and volunteers at those organizations.
The campaign works with people to prevent or quickly end homelessness as a starting point because individuals and families have a better chance of addressing underlying issues when they have a stable place to live. Local organizations work together to provide the most appropriate services for each situation — which can include anything from mortgage assistance and subsidized housing to employment or domestic violence services.
For more information about the Campaign to End Homelessness, and more detailed data, visit www.thecampaigntoendhomelessness.org.