05/14/2024

CSH Advocates for Supportive Housing at the Michigan Legislature 

Last month, Michigan State Senator Irwin and Representative Kristian Grant invited Catherine Distelrath (CSH’s Director, Michigan) to present on supportive housing in front of the Senate Housing and Human Services Committee and House Committee on Economic Development. She was joined by CSH partner, Avalon Housing, a supportive housing provider in Sen. Irwin’s district. 

CSH and Avalon Housing informed the committees on the components of supportive housing and the role it plays in addressing homelessness across Michigan. They discussed the positive outcomes individuals in supportive housing achieve including improved housing stability, increased income, and better overall physical and mental health. They further underscored the cost offsets experienced by many cities and states resulting from decreased jail stays and emergency room visits once individuals are housed.  

CSH capped the discussion by highlighting the fiscally responsible policies state lawmakers can advance, including allocating state resources to pay for supportive services, making modifications to the Medicaid program to expand coverage for housing-related services, and reducing barriers to accessing housing for extremely low-income individuals and families.  

Sen. Irwin has been a champion for supportive housing for several years. Most recently, in 2022, he worked with CSH, state housing and service providers, and the Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness to usher through a $6 million appropriation for the Supportive Services Pilot program. 

The Supportive Services Pilot program is already having an impact, with service providers reporting significant shifts in their ability to provide higher quality services. However, providers requested over $21M in additional funding through an early 2023 RFP, demonstrating that supportive services remain considerably underfunded in Michigan.   

As a solution, CSH proposed the Supportive Services Transformation Fund (SSTF), which would appropriate $25 million in funding for supportive housing providers by addressing the gaps in available services and building capacity for developing and maintaining a high-quality service delivery system. 

The CSH proposal received sign-on support from 77 organizations and more than 50 individuals, which is a strong affirmation for adequate funding of this critical resource in districts across the state. The request was well-received, with Governor Whitmer including it in her 2024 supplemental budget and both the House and Senate including it in their budget requests. Over the next several weeks, the chambers will negotiate and finalize the budget details.   

CSH is incredibly grateful to state legislators who have taken the time to listen and learn about supportive housing. We will continue to work with partners and allies in the legislature to advance SSTF and other critical legislation.  

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