Michigan reports 6% drop in homelessness

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

There are thousands fewer homeless people in Michigan, according to a state report published Wednesday.

More than 69,000 homeless people lived in Michigan in 2015, down 6 percent from 2014, according to the report. Last year, , 34,000 people previously living on the streets, in shelters and in transitional housing programs exited the “homeless service system,” the report said.

The annual report shows a 15 percent decline in the number of homeless veterans from 2014 to 2015, crediting programs meant to help chronically homeless people and a different criteria for tallying the number of “chronically homeless” people in Michigan.

“We are making strides in ending homelessness,” said Kelly Rose, chief housing solutions officer for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. “By continuing to invest in permanent housing resources, embrace change and improve our system, we will succeed at preventing and ending homelessness in Michigan.”

Michigan officials also unveiled an “action plan” Wednesday morning during a summit on homelessness.

MSHDA director Kevin Elsenheimer said in a statement that the plan is meant to “end homelessness.”

It would provide “affordable housing” to people experiencing homelessness, according to the authority. The state agency says it also would improve access to federally-funded housing assistance by “eliminating barriers” and helping those most at risk of homelessness gain access to housing, among other initiatives detailed in the separate “action plan” report.

To read the action plan and annual homeless report, go to thecampaigntoendhome