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homelessness

Police officers standing inside the yellow tape at Kalamazoo's Bronson Park
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Bronson Park sits across from Kalamazoo’s City Hall. Tuesday night it was full of people, music and tents.

But by Wednesday morning, it had police officers standing behind yellow caution tape that surrounds the park.

Motor Corps and Canteen volunteers from the Detroit chapter of the American Red Cross, taking a break from delivering supplies to influenza victims.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION

Today on Stateside, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Bill Gelineau says he would cut Medicaid costs by rewarding young women for not getting pregnant before age 23. Plus, 100 years ago, the world’s deadliest flu pandemic hit Michigan and killed roughly 19,000 people.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Shelter leader responds to complaints from homeless Kalamazoo residents in ongoing protests

Bryce Huffman

Update: 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 19

Kalamazoo police officers arrived at Bronson Park this morning to clear the park of homeless people and protestors.

The city imposed a deadline of 7 p.m. Tuesday night for homeless campers to leave the park.

Some people have been arrested, including city commissioner Shannon Sykes.

child coloring with crayons
Unsplash / Aaron Burden

Today on Stateside, we hear from Kalamazoo’s city manager about the response to protests over homelessness in the city. Plus, parents aren’t the only ones with long lists of school supplies to buy before the year starts—teachers are spending their own money on classroom essentials, too.

City manager addresses protests over homelessness in Kalamazoo

 Reimund Holzhey mugshot
Courtesy of Michigan History Center

Today on Stateside, after a contentious city council meeting, Kalamazoo is moving to meet the demands of homeless protestors camped out in a downtown park. Plus, nationally-recognized teacher Matinga Ragatz talks about why she thinks school reform is hurting, not helping, students.

Kalamazoo, MI

A conflict between Kalamazoo and a group of homeless people has entered its third week.

Some people have been camping in downtown Bronson Park to protest the lack of shelter space and a long-term plan to help people find permanent housing.

The city tried to get them to move to two other places, but both were rejected, because of concerns about lack of safety or shade, among other reasons.

Jim Ritsema is Kalamazoo's city manager.  He says the protesters are violating a city ordinance by staying overnight in a park.

Kalamazoo, MI

The city of Kalamazoo has struck a deal with a group of homeless protesters who were refusing to leave a downtown park.

Coin box at Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Airplane passengers in Grand Rapids can get rid of some spare change and fight homelessness at the same time.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has added boxes where passengers can drop coins before going through the security checkpoint.

Stacy Peck, Tyler Trowbridge, and Wendy Botts
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

 


The opioid epidemic has been devastating to families and communities across America. For those struggling with addiction, getting clean can be a grueling process, even when they are able to get into a rehab facility. 

Tyler Trowbridge knows that struggle well, which is why he helped design Dirt City Sanctuary. Trowbridge, along with his co-founders Stacy Peck and Wendy Botts, joined Stateside to talk about their efforts to build a new kind of community for recovering addicts. 

Kalamazoo
Public domain

 

A recent report from the University of Michigan Poverty Solutions finds the state has one of the largest populations of homeless students in the country. 

The school district with the highest number of reported homeless students in the state is Kalamazoo Public Schools, the state's 13th largest district.

The district is composed of 26 schools with approximately 13,000 students. The UM report found 904 of those students reported experiencing homelessness. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s homeless population is trending downward for the third year in a row—in part, officials say, because of an emphasis on finding people homes.

Detroit’s annual “point in time count” of people living on the street or in shelters tallied up 1,769 people when it was conducted on January 31st of this year. That’s a 15% drop from 2017.

Mariam Elamine / Southwest Solutions

When the weather gets as bitterly cold as it is right now, an already-dangerous life becomes downright lethal for people living on the streets.

There are teams who try to bring in them in from the cold, if only for a couple days. But first, they have to find them.

Roymundo VII / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Next Idea

Homelessness has a different look in a city than it does in rural areas, and somehow it feels easier to overlook.

Dennis Van Kampen, executive director and CEO of the Grand Rapids nonprofit Mel Trotter Ministries, joined Stateside to talk about a pilot program aimed at helping homeless families in rural Cedar Springs, and take on the problem of rural homelessness more broadly.

Roymundo VII / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The number of homeless people in Michigan declined 9% last year.

That shows Michigan's approach is working, says Kelly Rose.  She's Chief Housing Solutions Officer for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. 

Rose says agencies now focus resources on those most in need, rather than first come, first serve.  And the approach is to get someone into housing first, then help them deal with problems like substance abuse or mental health.

military veterans
John M. Cropper / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The problem of homelessness among military veterans in Kent County has been solved, according to several organizations that have been working to find housing for them.

The county had more than 400 homeless veterans when the collaborative effort began in 2015.

Courtesy of HandUp Detroit

Giving money to the homeless, especially on the street, seems to give rise to a whole range of emotions, from the joy of giving to plain suspicion at handing over money to a stranger. 

There are those who don’t want to give cash because they aren’t sure how it will be used. Others feel compelled to help a person in obvious need. Some cities have even gone so far as to ban panhandling altogether.

Now, an online giving platform called HandUp is taking a new approach. The San Francisco-based website recently launched an effort in Detroit that allows online donors to give money directly to homeless individuals and families in the metro area.

Valenstein hopes the project will help those in need of social services connect with agencies that are better suited to help them.
flickr user Rosser321 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Take funding from the Affordable Care Act, add a $70 million state innovation model grant to the state Department of Health and Human Services, and you’re about to see an ambitious new project that can change health care delivery in Michigan.

It’s called Michigan’s Blueprint for Health Innovation.

user Mitchell Haindfield / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Homelessness in Michigan is dropping.

That's according to a 2015 report by Ending Homelessness in Michigan. They found the number of homeless residents decreased by 6% in Michigan to 69,163 people.

Children
Credit Flickr user Herald Post/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Who are Michigan's homeless students? And how does being homeless affect their education?

These are crucial questions for the state, as education plays an important role in homeless students' ability to escape the chains of poverty and homelessness.

Joshua Cowen is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. He recently published a study examining these important questions. His study reveals exactly who Michigan's homeless students are and where they come from. It also reveals how homelessness affects a students performance in schools.

Lit Kurtz

The Next Idea

 

Homelessness is a complex problem with no one easy solution. In Michigan, the needs are enormous. People experiencing homelessness see our state as more like a Third World country than like one of the richest areas in the world.

 

Flickr/creative commons

A statewide push to reduce homelessness appears to be working, especially among homeless veterans. 

Kelly Rose with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority says overall homelessness in the first half of 2015 is down about 10% compared to the same period last year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss Donald Trump's latest trip to Michigan, a sex scandal, and a plan to end homelessness.

Flickr/creative commons

Updated: 8/12/15, 2:51 pm

I'll admit I thought it was a bit crazy, when I heard that some places in Michigan had pledged to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2016.   

Zero: 2016 is a national campaign that urges communities to reduce veteran homelessness to virtually zero by the end of 2015, and reduce chronic homelessness to virtually zero by the end of 2016. 

Washtenaw, Oakland, and Genessee counties and the city of Detroit joined the campaign in January. 

Washtenaw and Oakland counties are getting close to the goal.

Annie Green Springs / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Now that the city of Detroit has put bankruptcy in the rear-view mirror, it is able to start tackling its deepest problems.

One of those is getting all of the agencies that help the homeless on the same page and working to help homeless people in the city’s neighborhoods as well as downtown.

Viviana Pernot

You might have heard of Camp Take Notice, the tent city in Ann Arbor that was forced to close nearly three years ago.

Viviana Pernot has made a short documentary film about that homeless community and the non-profit group that helps them.

Kymberly Janisch / Flickr Creative Commons

Homelessness continues to be a big problem in Michigan. But the state is making progress, according to a report recently released by the Michigan Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The report says more than 97,000 Michigan residents experienced homelessness in 2014.

user anonymonous / Flickr

  The most recent count of Washtenaw County's homeless population through the Point in Time Count showed a 24 percent decrease in the number of people on the streets and in shelters since 2013. 

Below is a graph of the change in the homeless population of Washtenaw over the last three Point in Time Counts. 

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

People will be hitting the streets Wednesday to count the number of homeless individuals in Washtenaw County. 

The count is a part of the Point in Time census that is conducted every other year and documents the sheltered and unsheltered homeless people in the area. 

This year's count is especially important, because the county only has one year to end veteran homelessness to meet it's goal as a part of the national Zero:2016 Campaign. 

One organization in Michigan is working to raise awareness about homelessness in the state.
Ed Yourdan / flickr.com

Cold weather is here and that means an extra-challenging time for the homeless.

Melissa Golpe is with Covenant House Michigan. It's an organization that helps thousands of homeless kids in the Detroit area.

This Thursday night, they've invited business leaders to spend one night on the streets to raise money and feel what it's like to have no place to go as the temperature drops.

Golpe joined us today with 22-year old Steven Brown - a resident at Covenant House. 

Listen to our conversation with them below:

Young and on the fringes. How do we help?

Oct 3, 2014
Homeless man
SamPac / creative commons

This week we aired a special State of Opportunity call-in program focused on disconnected youth. These are young people between the ages of 16 and 25, they're not in school and they're not working either.

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