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Washtenaw County winter shelter program slated to end by April 1

A sign from the housing vigil in Washtenaw County.
Priya Vijayakumar
Michigan Radio
A sign from the housing vigil in Washtenaw County.

A winter shelter initiative for homeless families in Washtenaw County will end on March 31.

This emergency housing program was established by Michigan Itinerant Shelter System Interdependent Out of Necessity (MISSION).

MISSION created the program in response to insufficient warming centers during harsh weather conditions.

Through additional funding from the county, MISSION's program provided homeless families with temporary lodging in local hotels.

MISSION estimates that at least 90 families will be left without reliable housing after the initiative ends later this month.

Community advocates are asking where these evicted families will go— especially ones with children.

"We all know that kids need stability to pick up and move forward and thrive," said Stefani Crouse, the development specialist of the Washtenaw County Peer Support Network. "..if we don't interrupt that cycle somewhere and stop that perpetual motion of families in trauma, I feel like we're just screaming into the wind."

Crouse organized a housing vigil on March 25 outside the Washtenaw County Administration Building.

She wanted to raise awareness about the housing crisis and push the county to act.

"Our immediate ask is that the families that are currently housed in hotels be allowed to continue to stay in some type of temporary housing environment through at least the end of the school year," said Crouse.

Currently, Washtenaw County does not have any emergency shelters.

Priya Vijayakumar started her Newsroom Internship in January 2023. She is interested in science/health reporting and making the facts more accessible to all!
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