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Ann Arbor, Mich., At their Wednesday evening meeting, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to allocate $3,000,000 to local human service provider organizations and address the current eviction and homelessness crisis.
The proposal uses $300,000 per year for 2023 and 2023, to provide rental assistance, move-in assistance, and extended emergency sheltering. At the height of the current crisis, as many as 90 families were sheltered in area hotels. The Board made the decision to extend the seasonal, Emergency Family Hoteling program past its April 1st end-date. The program was operated by a volunteer-based organization, M.I.S.S.I.O.N. as an expansion of their regular work. 47 families have been identified as needing ongoing supports for hotel. Washtenaw County plans to assume operationalization of the hotel sheltering until the sunset date, yet to be determined.
“I hope that it’s seen that this a Board that takes this issue extremely seriously. We know that this is not going to solve the problem,” Chair of the Board, Commissioner Justin Hodge, District 5, said. We alone are not going to fix this for our community. It’s going to take partnership between local government, county government and state government to truly solve it. But we are always committed to doing what we need to do to support our residents, and in addition to meeting immediate needs, we’re really interested in changing systems so that we can change lives.”
$748,000 per year for the two years will provide bridge funding to agencies most recently funded through Coordinated Funding grant extensions. The organizations identified were previously funded by Washtenaw County and Washtenaw Urban County, two of the previous coordinated funder institutions.
"I am committed to centering our neighbors directly impacted by housing insecurity as county government continues to work closely on this issue," said Commissioner Annie Somerville, District 6. "Housing is a human right."
“Given the emergent nature of the sheltering situation in our County, we felt it appropriate to make the recommendation now,” said Gregory Dill, County Administrator, “We know that this is not the long-term strategy, but this provides some time and flexibility for us, and our agency partners, to respond in the most expedient way.”
Due to the urgency of the existing crisis, the item passed through the Board with same-night approval. County administration will spend the next two weeks honing the funding framework for the sheltering, eviction prevention and rental assistance, inclusive of impact tracking, and provide an update to the Board at their May 4th meeting.