Homelessness Awareness Month
The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MICAH) has released it’s Annual Report on Homelessness in Michigan to coincide with Homeless Awareness Month. If you are interested, click here to read the report.
Below is a list of some interesting points from the report:
For the first time in many years, Michigan had an increase in individuals experiencing homelessness. 65,104 Michiganders, including seniors, children, veterans and individuals in families, experienced homelessness in 2018. Learn more about Michigan homelessness with the 2018 annual data report
Racial disparities among Michiganders experiencing homelessness are alarming - in 2018 52% of Michigan's homeless population were African American, but African Americans make up only 13% of Michigan's overall population. If we're going to address racial equity needs in our communities, we need to enact better policies and practices now. Check out the SPARC report to learn more.
Individuals in families, including young children, saw a dramatic increase in homelessness - 17% between 2016-2018. Sesame Street took on the challenge of family homelessness by introducing a homeless character a
nd creating these amazing resources for helping families cope with this traumatic experience.
Seniors aged 55+ continue to see an increase in homelessness - 6% increase from 2016 to 2018 - while the majority of demographics are seeing a decrease. 8,367 seniors experienced homelessness in 2018 with 32% of those experiencing homelessness for the first time. Read more about the impacts of homelessness on our aging population with this Invisible People article and video.
7 is the average age for a child experiencing homelessness with their family in Michigan. In 2018, there were over 17,000 children experiencing homelessness in Michigan. There are ways that you can support families and youth experiencing homelessness - find your local youth or family shelter and volunteer or donate.
As a mental health worker providing services to somebody experiencing homelessness, there are some things you can do to shorten or end their homeless episode:
If a client or family experiences homelessness and goes into a local shelter, send a referral to the Housing Resource Center (HRC) as soon as you become aware of their homelessness. If the client is about to be exited from the shelter and then the HRC receives the referral, there is little that can be done to avoid them ending up on the streets other than refer them to another shelter.
Make sure that your client has a goal in their IPOS addressing their homelessness. Homelessness is one of the single most traumatic events many people will experience in their lifetime and it should be addressed in a service goal.
Be an advocate for your homeless client. Many potential solutions are overlooked because the client doesn’t want to be a burden to anyone or is afraid to ask a friend or relative for assistance. Natural Supports are one of the single most important solutions for housing emergencies. Even burned bridges can be mended if the natural support knows they have an advocate working with their relative and/or friend.