Building Partnerships to Decriminalize Homelessness

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Please join us for our February 5 webinar, Decriminalizing Homelessness: Starting the Conversation,” for more information about building partnerships to better serve individuals experiencing homelessness in your community.

Campaigns like the national Housing Not Handcuffs highlight the ways that the basic existence of homelessness is being criminalized with arrests for publicly camping, loitering, and panhandling. This trend not only uses up criminal justice resources, but perpetuates the cycle of poverty that contributes to homelessness.

As people on the front lines interacting with individuals experiencing homelessness, police officers play a key role in breaking this cycle. An important way for local community agencies to fight for the decriminalization of homelessness is to start conversations with your local police about how they engage with this vulnerable population. These conversations can be the groundwork for connection to community resources rather than arrests, and could result in meaningful costs savings. In some places, cost saving studies have found criminalization alternatives could save taxpayers up to $149 million through reduced law enforcement resources and medical costs.

Michigan communities are already embracing several models for building partnerships between the police and homeless service providers, including street outreach teams, crisis intervention teams, and jail diversion programs. Having police involvement with these processes means that individuals experiencing homelessness on the street are redirected to the actual resources they need rather than receiving costly fees or jail time. Street outreach teams can help the police better understand the homeless experience on a day-to-day basis. Crisis intervention teams bring together mental health professionals and local community homeless agencies to educate law enforcement on how to connect homeless folks to the right community resources they need, and jail diversion programs help provide alternatives to the criminal justice system.

These models aren’t a one-size-fits-all for your community. The first few steps to building a partnership involve knowing the mental health resources in your community and starting a conversation with your local police. Knowing the mental health resources in your community means understanding their capacity for providing services. Once you know that, you can then start bridging the gap between their services and the police. Sometimes all it takes is starting a conversation about knowledge of resources that your local police may have never known about.

On Tuesday, February 5, MCAH will be hosting the webinar, “Decriminalizing Homelessness: Starting the Conversation.” Champions from Oakland County and Traverse City will speak about how they’ve built real partnerships between community agencies and law enforcement. This webinar will bring together local innovators of processes like crisis intervention teams and street outreach teams. Attendees will get some tips on how to start having conversations with the police and learn about the benefits of building this kind of partnership.

Please join us to hear from:

  • Oakland County Jail Diversion Coordinator with Oakland Community Health Network, Dan Holloway
  • Executive Director of HOPE, Inc. Elizabeth Kelly
  • Street Outreach Coordinator of Goodwill Industries of North Michigan, Ryan Hannon
  • Homeless Liaison Officer with the Traverse City Police Department, Captain Keith Gillis

Register online at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2285179184057155842

By Gaby Abalo, MCAH Public Policy Intern. You can contact her at: gabalo@mihomeless.org. Additional questions or concerns can be directed to Laurel Burchfield // lburchfield@mihomeless.org. 

Advertisements

Increasing Access and Decreasing Barriers to Affordable Rental Units for Michigan Homeless and Low-Income Tenants

MCAH is pleased to announce our 2019-2020 Policy Priorities to guide our state level advocacy.

Everyone should have a place to call home, but Michigan individuals and families experiencing homelessness struggle to find safe, quality homes in our communities. If we are to truly build the strong and vibrant communities where we are all proud to live, then we need to bring in solutions and create housing policies that match housing costs to families’ incomes.

Over the past year, MCAH has been asking our members, advocates, and community leaders, “What do you need to solve the issues of homelessness in your community?” Answers varied based on local need, encompassing new development, changes to zoning, flexibility in federal and state regulations, and more. But the answer that surfaced most often was “We need more tools to engage with landlords and property managers to bring the cost of housing down to what our community needs.”

A large number of Michiganders are renters – over 1,128,000 households in fact. And the majority (66%) of folks exiting homelessness move into rental homes. But as Michigan housing costs continue to spike, wages and incomes are simply not keeping pace. Too many families struggle to find and then afford to rent safe homes – places where we all would feel comfortable raising our children – in so many of our Michigan communities. And for individuals with additional barriers, such as receiving a housing voucher, having a history of evictions or low credit, or returning to the community after incarceration, this challenge can be nearly insurmountable.

We have a collective responsibility to build strong communities for all Michiganders. This means creating places to live where everyone can thrive and access quality education, good jobs, and community connections. Improving access to good rental homes is one step towards solving this puzzle.

Over the next two years, MCAH will dedicate our policy work towards finding state solutions to both increase access and decrease barriers to safe, affordable rental units for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their home. Our policy priorities for the next Michigan legislative session include:

  1. Increasing Access to Affordable Rental Units
    • Creating new tools for landlord and property manager engagement:
      • Tax incentives for landlords and property managers to increase rental opportunities
      • Damages or risk mitigation fund for landlords and property managers
  2. Decreasing Barriers to Affordable Rental Units
    • Creating protections for low-income tenants:
      • Eviction expungement
      • Legal protections against housing discrimination, such as source of income discrimination
  3. Strengthening Funding for Homeless Services and Affordable Housing Opportunities
    • Increasing funding within state department for related programs that help individuals access or maintain housing

We look forward to working with our new Governor, legislators, state partners, and community advocates to advance policy solutions to improve the way we address housing in our state.

And we invite you to join us. Creating better housing policy is not an issue that will be resolved solely by lawmakers in Lansing. Strong voices such as yours will make the difference in your community. In 2019, will you become a member of MCAH and advocate for housing solutions that create stronger communities?

 

For more information about our policy priorities and how you can become involved, contact Laurel Burchfield at lburchfield@mihomeless.org.

Affordable Housing Creates Opportunities

Tags

, , , , ,

Many low-income Michiganders cannot currently access housing, which leads to other life impacts and household instability. MCAH is collecting information from around Michigan about needs and solutions to increase access to affordable rental units. Share your ideas to help MCAH bring solutions to our state legislators. If you work on affordable housing or issues related to homelessness, we invite you to take our affordable housing survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R9BX9QH

Across America, wealth, income, and spending create a widening gap in affordable housing opportunities between low-income households and other households. Michigan is no exception. Every day, low-income Michiganders search for safe, affordable rentals and home ownership opportunities with little success. One of the most important solutions lies in increasing access to affordable housing. The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MCAH) and our state partners are concerned about the lack of safe, affordable housing and the need for additional resources to increase affordable housing access for low-income and homeless populations in Michigan.

Housing Definitions

Let’s put the need for affordable housing into perspective for Michigan. Michigan’s Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $876 on average, ranging from $697 in Alcona County to $1,103 in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s minimum wage is $9.25 per hour, but an individual working for minimum wage at 40 hours per week for 52 weeks would not be able to afford a Fair Market Rent studio apartment ($534 on average) in most of Michigan. In fact, Michigan households need to make $16.85 per hour full-time (that’s $3,680 per month, or $35,057 per year) to afford an Michigan rental at Fair Market Rent.

Affordable housing is necessary for all households to survive and thrive, but there simply is not enough to go around. According to HUD, an estimated 12 million low-income U.S. households and 61% of low-income Michiganders are cost-burdened. This puts many of these households at risk of homelessness due to rising rents and stagnating incomes. Increasing access to affordable housing for low-income households creates lasting effects and removes barriers to improved physical and mental well-being, healthcare, reliable resources, and financial stability. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) 2018 report shows that low-income households with affordable housing are less likely to sacrifice necessities – like healthy food and health care – to pay rent. This increases stable housing situations and decreases the risk of becoming homeless, especially from evictions. In fact, affordable housing can have a positive impact on other social issues by reducing stress, hunger, drug abuse, and social isolation. It also increases social equity, access to healthcare, access to healthy foods, employment opportunities, and skills training . By increasing affordable housing in Michigan, we will create more opportunities to positively impact our communities.

This housing crisis “isn’t just about affordability—it’s about economic mobility, too,” – National Low Income Housing Coalition

Polling indicates that 75% of Americans believe that adequate, affordable housing is a human right. A community with enough affordable housing not only positively impacts individual household stability, but also improves its local economy in many ways. Using local resources helps increase affordable housing and assists with local job creation in construction and local businesses, and increases access and completion of job training programs. As households are able to spend less of their income on housing, they are also able to increases consumer spending locally due to increased financial stability.

While Michigan is not the only state in need of improved housing affordability for low-income and homeless populations, we still need immediate community solutions. Right now, communities need additional tools to invest in new housing developments, improve access to existing housing, and overall increase access to safe, affordable housing. We’ll be looking at what some of these solutions may be in the continuation of our blog series with deeper dives into zoning solutions, improving income, and improving resource assistance for low-income households.

First we need to better understand affordable housing needs and solutions in your community. We invite agency staff and stakeholders working on affordable housing to take our affordable rental unit survey. Your input will allow MCAH to bring data and information to our state legislators and advocate for real affordable housing solutions.

By Caroline Croom, MCAH Public Policy Intern. You can contact her at: ccroom@mihomeless.org. Additional questions or concerns can be directed to Laurel Burchfield // lburchfield@mihomeless.org and Jason Weller // jweller@mihomeless.org.

 

Michigan State Legislative Candidates: Where Do They Stand On Issues Related to Housing Insecurity and Homelessness?

Tags

, ,

Every election year the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness surveys state legislative candidates about their knowledge of homelessness. This year we’ve received many responses, but we would like to further increase candidate participation with the help of our community advocates.

Where do your Michigan state legislative candidates stand on issues of homelessness? Are they familiar with the services and systems to prevent and end homelessness in your community? What potential state solutions would they support? Would they become a champion on issues of housing affordability and homelessness if elected to serve?

The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness asks these questions and more in our 2018 Candidate Questionnaire. Engaging with candidates allows us, and you as their constituents, to begin important dialogues now before they take office. We’re excited to see a large response rate, with responses from around 1/6 of candidates from the 38 senate districts and 110 house districts. But now we need your help.

Who better to engage these candidates about issues of homelessness than the local advocates and voters in their district? Help us reach out to those who have yet to submit their responses and remind them how important it is for them to engage on issues of housing and homelessness.

We are sharing these candidates’ responses publicly so community advocates will be aware of their candidates’ positions on issues of homelessness when they head out to vote in the polls this November.

7337531128_39159c825c

How Can You Help?

Get your Michigan House and Senate candidates to complete the questionnaire!

  • Download this toolkit to learn more about how to engage: Candidate Engagement Toolkit
  • You can access the full questionnaire to send to your candidate in printable PDF here or as an online survey here.
  • Don’t know who your candidates are? Find your senate district here and your house district here based on your address.
  • We’ve put together a list of candidate websites, with their contact information if available, here.
  • Have questions or need help, contact Laurel Burchfield at lburchfield@mihomeless.org.

For the candidates who already responded, you can access their responses below. For the candidates who haven’t responded, MCAH encourages local advocates to reach out to them.

Candidate Responses (as of October 26, 2018)

If your district’s candidates have responded their name will be highlighted with a link to their responses. This list will continue to be updated as responses are received until October 26.

House District 1: Mark Corcoran-R | Tenisha Yancey-D | Gregory Croswell-L

House District 2: John Palffy-R | Joe Tate-D

House District 3: Dolores Brodersen-R | Wendell L. Byrd-D

House District 4: Howard Weathington-R | Isaac Robinson-D

House District 5: Dorothy Patterson-R | Cynthia A. Johnson-D

House District 6: Linda Sawyer-R | Tyrone Carter-D

House District 7: Marcelis Turner-R | LaTanya Garrett-D

House District 8: Valerie R. Parker-R | Sherry Dagnogo-D

House District 9: James Stephens-R | Karen Whitsett-D

House District 10: William Brang-R | Leslie Love-D

House District 11: James Townsend-R | Jewell Jones-D

House District 12: Michelle Bailey-R | Alex Garza-D

House District 13: Annie Spencer-R | Frank Liberati-D

House District 14: Darrell Stasik-R | Cara Clemente-D

House District 15: Doug Mitchell-R | Abdullah Hammoud-D

House District 16: Jody Rice-White-R | Kevin Coleman-D

House District 17: Joe Bellino, Jr.-R | Michelle LaVoy-D

House District 18: Kyle McKee-R | Kevin Hertel-D

House District 19: Brian Meakin-R | Laurie Pohutsky-D

House District 20: Jeff Noble-R | Matthew Koleszar-D

House District 21: Darian Moore-R | Kristy Pagan-D

House District 22: Arthur Blundell-R | John G. Chirkun-D | Matt Kuehnel-L

House District 23: Michael Frazier-R | Darrin Camilleri-D

House District 24: Steve Marino-R | Laura Winn-D

House District 25: Jazmine Early-R | Nate Shannon-D

House District 26: Al Gui-R | Jim Ellison-D

House District 27: Janet Flessland-R | Robert Wittenburg-D | Benjamin Carr-L

House District 28: Aaron Delikta-R | Lori Stone-D | Ryan Manier-L

House District 29: Timothy Carrier-R | Brenda Carter-D

House District 30: Diana Farrington-R | John P. Spica-D

House District 31: Lisa Valerio-Nowc-R | William Sowerby-D

House District 32: Pamela Hornberger-R | Paul Manley-D

House District 33: Jeff Yaroch-R | Andrea Geralds-D

House District 34: Henry Swift-R | Sheldon Neeley-D

House District 35: Theodore Alfonsetti III-R | Kyra Harris Bolden-D

House District 36: Doug Wozniak-R | Robert Murphy-D | Benjamin Dryke-L

House District 37: Mitch Swoboda-R | Christine Greig-D

House District 38: Kathy Crawford-R | Kelly Breen-D | Brian Wright-L

House District 39: Ryan Berman-R | Jennifer Suidan-D | Anthony Croff-L

House District 40: David Wolkinson-R | Mari Manoogian-D

House District 41: Doug Tietz-R | Padma Kuppa-D

House District 42: Ann Bolin-R | Mona M. Shand-D

House District 43: Andrea Schroeder-R | Nicole Breadon-D

House District 44: Matt Maddock-R | Laura Dodd-D

House District 45: Michael Webber-R | Kyle Cooper-D

House District 46: John Reilly-R | Mindy Denninger-D

House District 47: Hank Vaupel-R | Collen Turk-D

House District 48: Al Hardwick-R | Sheryl Y. Kennedy-D

House District 49: Patrick Duvendeck-R | John Cherry-D

House District 50: Trace Fisher-R | Tim Sneller-D

House District 51: Mike Mueller-R | David Lossing-D

House District 52: Teri Aluto-R | Donna Lasinski-D

House District 53: Jean Holland-R | Yousef Rabhi-D

House District 54: Colton Campbell-R | Ronnie Peterson-D

House District 55: Bob Baird-R | Rebekah Warren-D

House District 56: Jason Sheppard-R | Ernie Whiteside-D

House District 57: Bronna Kahle-R | Amber Pedersen-D

House District 58: Eric Leutheuser-R | Tamara Barnes-D

House District 59: Aaron Miller-R | Dennis B. Smith-D

House District 60: William Baker-R | Jon Hoadley-D

House District 61: Brandt Iden-R | Alberta Griffin-D

House District 62: Dave Morgan-R | Jim Haadsma-D | Peter Kobs (unlisted)

House District 63: Matt Hall-R | Jennifer Aniano-D | Ronald Hawkins-L

House District 64: Julie Alexander-R | Sheila Troxel-D | Norman Peterson-L

House District 65: Sarah Lightner-R | Terri McKinnon-D |  Jason B. Rees-L

House District 66: Beth Griffin-R | Dan Seibert-D

House District 67: Leon Clark-R | Kara Hope-D | Zachary Moreau-L

House District 68: Rosalinda Hernandez-R | Sarah Anthony-D

House District 69: George Nastas-R | Julie Brixie-D

House District 70: James Lower-R | Krestra Train-D

House District 71: Christine Barnes-R | Angela Witwer-D

House District 72: Steven Johnson-R | Ron Drayer-D | Jamie Lewis-L

House District 73: Lynn Afendoulis-R | Bill Saxton-D

House District 74: Mark Huizenga-R | Meagan Carr-D

House District 75: Daniel Schutte-R | David LaGrand-D

House District 76: Amanda Brand-R | Rachel Hood-D

House District 77: Tommy Brann-R | Dana Knight-D

House District 78: Brad Paquette-R | Dean Hill-D

House District 79: Pauline Wendzel-R | Joey B. Andrews-D

House District 80: Mary Whiteford | Mark Ludwig-D

House District 81: Gary Eisen-R | Joshua Rivard-D

House District 82: Gary Howell-R | Christophers Giles-D

House District 83: Shane Hernandez-R | Stefanie Brown-D

House District 84:  Phil Green-R | William Shoop-D

House District 85: Ben Frederick-R | Eric Edward Sabin-D

House District 86: Thomas Albert-R | Lauren Taylor-D

House District 87: Julie Calley-R | Shawn Winters-D

House District 88: Luke Meerman-R | Heidi Zuniga-D

House District 89:  Jim Lilly-R | Jerry Sias-D

House District 90: Bradley Slagh-R | Christopher Banks-D

House District 91: Greg VanWoerkom-R | Tanya Cabala-D

House District 92: Gail Eichorst-R | Terry Sabo-D

House District 93: Graham Filler-R | Dawn Levey-D | Tyler Palmer-L

House District 94: Rodney Wakeman-R | Dave Adams-D

House District 95: Dorothy Tanner-R | Vanessa Guerra-D

House District 96: Susan Kay Kowalski-R | Brian Elder-D

House District 97: Jason Wentworth-R | Bob Townsend-D

House District 98: Annette Glenn-R | Sarah Schulz-D

House District 99: Roger Hauck-R | Kristen Brown-D

House District 100: Scott A. VanSingel-R | Sandy Clarke-D

House District 101: Jack O’Malley-R | Kathy Wiejaczka-D

House District 102: Michele Hoitenga-R | Dion Adams-D

House District 103: Daire Rendon-R | Tim Schaiberger-D

House District 104: Larry C. Inman-R | Dan O’Neil-D

House District 105: Triston Cole-R | Melissa Fruge-D

House District 106: Sue Allor-R | Lora Greene-D

House District 107: Lee Chatfield-R | Joanne Galloway-D

House District 108: Beau LaFave-R | Bob Romps-D

House District 109: Melody Wagner-R | Sara Cambensy-D

House District 110: Gregory Markkanen-R | Ken Summers-D

 

Senate District 1:  Pauline Montie-R | Stephanie Chang-D

Senate District 2: Lisa Papas-R | Adam Hollier-D

Senate District 3: Kathy Stacker-R | Sylvia Santana-D

Senate District 4: Angela Savino-R | Marshall Bullock-D

Senate District 5: DeShawn Wilkins-R | Betty Jean Alexander-D

Senate District 6: Brenda Jones-R | Erika Geiss-D

Senate District 7: Laura Cox-R | Dayna Polehanki-D | Joseph H. Leblanc-L

Senate District 8: Peter J. Lucido-R | Paul R. Francis-D

Senate District 9: Jeff Bonnell-R | Paul Wojno-D

Senate District 10: Michael MacDonald-R | Henry Yanez-D | Mike Saliba-L

Senate District 11: Boris Tuman-R | Jeremy Moss-D | James K. Young-L

Senate District 12: Michael D. McCready-R | Rosemary Bayer-D |  Jeff Pittel-L

Senate District 13: Marty Knollenberg-R | Mallory McMorrow-D

Senate District 14: Ruth Johnson-R | Renee Watson-D

Senate District 15: Jim Runestead-R | Julia Pulver-D

Senate District 16: Mike Shirkey-R | Val Cochran Toops-D | Ronald A Muszynski-L

Senate District 17: Dale Zorn-R | Bill LaVoy-D | Chad McNamara-L

Senate District 18: Martin Church-R | Jeff Irwin-D

Senate District 19:  John Bizon-R | Jason Noble-D | Joseph P. Gillotte-L

Senate District 20: Margaret E. O’Brien-R | Sean McCann-D | Lorence Wenke-L

Senate District 21: Kim LaSata-R | Ian Haight-D

Senate District 22: Lana Theis-R | Adam Dreher-D

Senate District 23: Andrea Pollock-R | Curtis Hertel, Jr.-D

Senate District 24: Tom Barrett-R | Kelly Rossman-McKinney-D | Kate Nepton-L

Senate District 25: Dan Lauwers-R | Debbie Bourgois-D

Senate District 26: Aric Nesbitt-R | Garnet Lewis-D | Erwin Haas-L

Senate District 27: Donna Kekesis-R | Jim Ananich-D

Senate District 28: Peter MacGregor-R | Craig Beach-D | Nathan Hewer-L

Senate District 29: Chris Afendoulis-R | Winnie Brinks-D | Robert VanNoller-L

Senate District 30: Roger Victory-R | Jeanette Schipper-D | Mary Buzuma-L

Senate District 31: Kevin Daley-R | Cynthia A. Luczak-D

Senate District 32: Ken Horn-R | Philip Phelps-D

Senate District 33: Rick Outman-R | Mark Bignell-D

Senate District 34: Jon Bumstead-R | Poppy Sias-Hernandez-D | Max Riekse-L

Senate District 35: Curt VanderWall-R | Mike Taillard-D | Timothy Coon-L

Senate District 36: Jim Stamas-R | Joe Weir-D

Senate District 37: Wayne Schmidt-R | Jim Page-D

Senate District 38: Ed McBroom-R | Scott Dianda-D

By Gabriella Abalo, MCAH Public Policy InternYou can contact them at: gabalo@mihomeless.org.

Introducing Michigan’s First Homeless Speakers Bureau

Tags

, , , , , , ,

The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness is thrilled to announce our new Homeless Speakers Bureau! Learn more and request a speaker for your community events at www.mihomelessvoice.org.SB logo_blue text

In 2016, 66,483 Michiganders experienced homelessness, including children, veterans, families, and seniors. The public doesn’t often interact with this invisible population, and for many their perceptions of homelessness are based on media images or individuals on street corners. There aren’t opportunities to hear personal stories about how the experience of homelessness affects someone’s life, the struggles of finding housing and support, and how many are simply a few paychecks away from homelessness.

The Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness hopes to bring these stories into our communities through the new Michigan Homeless Speakers Bureau to increase empathy, educate decision makers, and create solutions for preventing and ending homelessness in Michigan.

What is a speakers bureau?

A speakers bureau is an organization of people who speak on a certain topic: in our case, the experience of being homeless. The Michigan Homeless Speakers Bureau is a platform for those who have experienced homelessness in Michigan to share their stories. The ultimate goal is to remove the stigmas associated with homelessness and raise awareness about this very real problem that affects many people both throughout the state of Michigan and around the country.

We train our speakers to tell their personal story and experience of homelessness, prepare them with data and statistics from around the state, and make them available for speaking engagements in your community. They don’t represent everyone’s experience, but are the experts in their own story, and every story is different.

Who is involved?

 

Group

The 2018-2019 Speakers Bureau. (Not pictured: Robin). Photo by Gigi Morton, The Vets Of…

The 2018 inaugural class is composed of 8 individuals who are trained, prepared and available to speak at organized events about their personal experiences. They represent communities across lower Michigan and speak from diverse experiences of homelessness, including sleeping in cars, shelters, and the streets due to evictions, domestic abuse, lack of familial support, incarceration, and issues related to mental health.

Visit our website to learn more about each of our Speakers and their journeys.

Why is the MCAH Speakers Bureau important?

The public’s perception of homelessness is often based on what we have been conditioned to expect: someone who has chosen or deserves homelessness due to personal decisions regarding substance abuse, unwillingness to work, or other distasteful habits. This is an inaccurate and dangerous way to view a condition that is often outside of an individual’s control. In recent years Michigan has seen an increase in families becoming homeless because they can’t afford the rising costs of rent, in seniors who don’t have a safety net once they reach retirement age, and in youth and women – often fleeing from domestic abuse. Often, a family is just one emergency away from being unable to afford their home.

The new Homeless Speakers Bureau will change the conversation around homelessness to regularly include the voices of those who have personally experienced it. With these speaking opportunities, we aim to challenge stereotypes about homelessness and provide an opportunity for those who have been silenced to have their voices heard. As these stories come to light, we can better understand the causes of homelessness and the role each of us has in better serving our community members and neighbors.

Our Goals

  • Raise awareness about issues related to homelessness
  • Break stereotypes and stigma associated with homelessness
  • Put a face to homelessness through personal stories
  • Effect proactive change in Michigan

What can I do to help?

The most important thing we can do is listen to stories that aren’t our own and keep an open mind and heart to change. We encourage you to schedule a speaker for your community event – whether at a club meeting, presentations to students, educators, or staff, or conversations with decision makers.

You can also support the Speakers Bureau through a sponsorship or donation. We are fortunate to receive support through our Gold Sponsor Cinnaire, but we need additional financial support to make this a strong initiative that can make an impact on our communities. Sponsorship packages are available, including community sponsorships of $100 or in-kind donations. To make a donation or learn more about sponsorships, please contact Laurel Burchfield at lburchfield@mihomeless.org.

Only by better understanding homelessness – real homelessness and the individuals and families who have experienced it – can we hope to end it.

For more information, please visit the Michigan Homeless Speakers Bureau website at http://www.mihomelessvoice.org.

By Laurel Burchfield, Manager of Marketing, Growth, and DevelopmentYou can contact her at: lburchfield@mihomeless.org.