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Homelessness down about 10% in Michigan

Flickr/creative commons

A statewide push to reduce homelessness appears to be working, especially among homeless veterans. 

Kelly Rose with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority says overall homelessness in the first half of 2015 is down about 10% compared to the same period last year.

And she says many of Michigan's rural counties have virtually eliminated homelessness among veterans, as has Washtenaw County.

Rose says a big reason is there are more federal housing subsidies available for veterans, thanks to a rare show of bipartisanship in Congress.

She says she'd like to see Congress increase funding for subsidies for others, including the chronically homeless, and homeless families. 

Another need is more landlords willing to accept the vouchers. 

"Because if you have a rental subsidy in your hand but you can't find a rental unit, you're not making progress," says Rose.

Counties have access to a range of federally and state-funded programs, including ones that focus on rapid re-housing, short-term rental assistance to prevent evictions, and emergency shelter programs.

All counties are now using an objective statewide assessment tool to triage each person who needs housing, says Rose, to make sure the limited funds and vouchers are distributed wisely.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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