Continuum Homeless Grant Fund
The Isabella Continuum of Care is on a mission to end homelessness in our local community. This collaborative is comprised of many nonprofit, religious, and governmental organizations that, by working together, are able to better serve those experiencing homelessness and poverty, as well as create long-term solutions to address these issues. The Continuum Homeless Grant Fund was established by the Isabella County Continuum of Care in 2001 with a grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority in partnership with the Council of Michigan Foundations. The primary purpose of the fund is to provide support to the homeless of Isabella County, as described in the Homeless Prevention Services Action Plan.
This fund was started with $30,000 in grant matching funds from the City of Mt. Pleasant and is to be used for future homelessness prevention programming. The fund supports local efforts to provide affordable housing and assist with rent. It serves as a preventative measure toward homelessness in Isabella County and provides transitional housing for those getting back on their feet.
Christa Jerome from EightCAP said, “Some believe if you can’t see the homeless in the community, they must not exist. I believe, you must not only open your eyes, but also your heart and mind to see them, because they are here - just hoping someone will realize they are important enough to be seen.”
EightCAP alone assists over five hundred community members annually, both those who are homeless and those who are at risk of becoming homeless. The Continuum of Care allows for community agencies like EightCAP to come together to talk about the barriers in place for the people they serve. Because of this collaboration, the average rate of homelessness for a household went from 89 days (FY 17-18) to 52 days (FY 18-19) in Isabella County. This has a positive impact on the community as a whole, as well as household stability, school attendance, safety factors, situational trauma, and general health and well-being.
Homelessness is a complex issue with many contributing factors including poverty, domestic abuse, disability, lack of affordable housing, and lack of employment opportunities. This is exactly why the Continuum of Care is so important – the network of service organizations makes it easier for community members to receive services that match their unique needs.
Goals of the Isabella County Continuum of Care include:
Aiding permanent housing needs of individuals and families through the development and implementation of a housing first plan.
Providing a single point of entry for homeless related services.
Local Salvation Army shows a 42% jump in Isabella county homeless persons since 2005.
January 2007 count showed that 52 homeless individuals lived in Isabella County, a significant increase from the 22 reported in 2005.
The Coalition Against Homelessness reported in 2007 that 33% of homeless families are working poor and 77% of families are homeless due to the lack of affordable housing.