Housing & Homelessness

Goal: Reduce the number of homeless families and individuals.

Strategy 1: Homelessness Prevention

The best way to fight homelessness in our community is to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. We support programs that triage those at highest risk of becoming homeless to connect them with services to stay housed or find housing.

Strategy 2: Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing and/or Homelessness Outreach

In the most recent Point In Time Count, 387 Washtenaw County residents were homeless. We support programs that provide short-term shelter and connect individuals and families with resources they need to get back on their feet.

Strategy 3: Rapid Rehousing

The faster someone experiencing homelessness is re-housed into permanent housing, the better their own outcomes and outlook for the future (at a lower cost than shelter), for a variety of reasons. We support programs that work to place at-risk individuals and families into permanent housing as quickly as possible, in line with national housing best practices.

Strategy 4: Permanent Supportive Housing

Some adults will always need addtional support to live stably and independently (such as adults with disabilities or mental illness). We support programs that provide housing supports, such as on-site social workers or connection to employment opportunities)  to keep people in stable housing permanently and keep them a part of their community.

Why This Matters

  • Washtenaw County is a more expensive county in which to live, with a cost of living index higher than state and national averages.1 Of the 358,880 individuals living in our County, 14% live below the poverty line, which is only $12,140 for an individual or $25,100 annually for a family of four.2&3 This translates to over 50,000 people in Washtenaw County living in poverty. 
  • The number of income-restricted units in Ann Arbor dropped from more than 2,100 in 2000 to less than 1,600 in 2012. Families making between $20,000 - $34,999 devote an average of 75% of their annual income to housing costs; one is considered “housing burdened” when more than 30% of income pays for housing.4
  • Approximately 4,600 adults and children received services to address homelessness in 2014. Contrary to popular belief, 1306 were families with children and 70% had attained at least a high school diploma. On a given night in 2018 there were 256 people in emergency shelter, and 28 people without shelter.5
1Washtenaw County Economic Development and Energy Department. “Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.” June 2010. 
3 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services 2018 Poverty Guidelines.
4 Washtenaw County Housing Needs Assessment, October 2014

Love This Work? Join Us.

Give: Make a donation to our Housing & Homelessness work. We are local dollars changing local lives.

Advocate: We support policies that ensure education outcomes. View our Public Policy Platform here.

Volunteer: Your time can be valuable for our nonprofit partners that serve the housing & homelessness cause.