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Posted on Sat, May 4, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Washtenaw County homelessness programs receive $4M in HUD funding

By Katrease Stafford

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $4 million to seven Washtenaw County homelessness organizations and the funds will be disbursed to 15 programs within the groups.


The homeless population in Washtenaw County has doubled since 2011.

Amy Biolchini |

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan made the announcement Thursday that more than 500 local homeless housing and service programs across the country will receive funding through HUD's Continuum of Care program.

HUD also announced that it will provide a third round of funding to support “selected new projects later this year.” Washtenaw County has applied for $305,040.00 to go toward program funding for rapid re-housing for families experiencing homelessness and eight to 10 new units of Permanent Supportive Housing.

The following organizations received funding:


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded more than $4 million to various Washtenaw County homelessness programs.

Courtesy photo

The Washtenaw Housing Alliance serves as the Continuum of Care for Washtenaw County, a HUD-mandated body that is responsible for monitoring, approving and submitting all applications for HUD homelessness services dollars. The housing alliance also submits applications for funding through the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority.

“HUD challenged local communities to ensure that they are providing best practices with proven strategies in response to homelessness in their area. This award shows that we are doing just that.” said Julie Steiner, Washtenaw Housing Alliance Executive Director, in a statement. "...Without money for housing and prevention, we will continue to see a rise in homelessness and perhaps a rise beyond anything we have seen before."

According to Steiner, while the Fiscal Year 2012 funds were not impacted by budget cuts under the sequestration that began March 1, future cuts are in the planning for homelessness services.

The FY 2013 budgets that are being discussed may result in a 12.6 percent cut to funding for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs and an additional 8.6 percent cut to the funding of HUD's Continuum of Care Program.

Steinter noted that cuts have already gone into effect for Housing Choice Vouchers,section 8 housing vouchers, with a five percent reduction that went into effect March 1.

Robert Guenzel, chair of the WHA Board of Directors said further cuts could be detrimental.

“Washtenaw County remains the most expensive rental housing market in the state," Gunzel said. "If funds continue to be cut for affordable housing, we are going to continue to see a rise in the level of homelessness in our community. This is unacceptable.” previously reported that the number of chronically homeless individuals in Washtenaw County has doubled over the past two years.

A report from the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development and the Washtenaw Housing Alliance found that in 2011, there were 426 individuals living in homeless shelters and 43 individuals living on the streets -- a total of 469 people.

The 2013 count found 344 individuals living in homeless shelters and 166 people living on the streets -- a total of 510 people. On average each year, 3,000 to 4,000 individuals are homeless in Washtenaw County.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

You could build 40 - $100,000 homes for that kind of money............... With that many agencies and organizations most of it goes to pay overhead to run them. What a waste...........but it feels good..............


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Habitat for Humanity seems to think they can build enough homes in Ann Arbor to keep them here. Although from what I am hearing? Most end up in fore closure because they do not have the means to keep the home they helped build. And Habitat does not have the resources money wise to help them keep the home. Just build and hope for the best. But at least someone who can afford to buy can. Sad.

martini man

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

Question : Why are so many "homeless" people migrating to the Ann Arbor area ?? Answer : They heard that there aren't any jobs.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

The liberals love to help the unfortunate. Fortunately for me? I left Ann Arbor to get away from high over priced houses and et all.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

I feel for the homeless, but I also feel that the federal government is not doing enough for the people on the edge. It is near impossible to get any mortgage assistance if you fall between the categories. These federal programs are difficult to qualify for, you either make too much, or not enough, or there always seems to be some excuse why you don't qualify for mortage help or modification. While many who totally went beyond their means to borrow are able to get assistance, those of us who borrowed sensibly and continue to struggle to make payments due to other circumstances ( but have never missed a payment) are unable to qualify. Something stinks, and it is paid for by all of us.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

I agree with your post. But if you squeeze enough out of your income like we are doing now, we are into paying off the house in 2 years or less. This way I can squirrel away enough money to do other things. I think paying the mortgage is the biggest expense next to a new car loan is what kills a budget any day of the week.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:39 a.m.

I feel for the taxpayers...............


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

I saw another homeless tent city going up behind Westgate. Kind of sad to be reading these numbers. I wonder how they get power from that generator you see by the highway. Interesting. These numbers do not surprise me because Ann Arbor seems to be attracting them and there are no jobs in this county to be had.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

The only valid claim I am making is the fact that the ones who can get jobs don't want them. Most are mentally ill or disabled. From the ones I see standing by the highway begging for money are more then able to go down the street and get a job doing something. They don't want these jobs because it is people like not me, handing out money so they can avoid working 40 hours for what they can get begging on the streets. According the article a few months ago on this web site they stated this one beggar made over $300 a day just standing there. The police state they are doing what they can to crack down on this but I still don't see anything being done about lately. I can't wait to read about the raid on that homeless tent city by the I 94 and Westgate.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

The current national unemployment rate is 7.5% Washtenaw county is currently at 5.1%, the lowest in the state. I see help wanted signs all over town. Jump on Craigs List sometime and tell me there are no jobs to be had in this county. Please stop making invalid excuses for these people.

martini man

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

Our tax dollars at work ...don't ya just feel all warm and fuzzy?? And to think ..a small percentage of it might actually get to the homeless folks. Hooray !!! Love those committees and their staff members.

The Picker

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Too much Bureaucracy! Its very expensive and takes away the cash from the truly needy!!!


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

"that more than 500 local homeless housing and service programs across the country will receive funding through HUD's Continuum of Care program." Meh...with that many companies, I HIGHLY doubt there is any good oversight on the finances. Does anyone watchdog this group at all? I bet a fair number of them are working the system and extorting those funds...


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

I implied nothing of the sort. Where did I mention anything to do with homelessness.... I'm talking about the sheer volume of programs they claim to assist. With little to no oversight this is easily a program asking to be taken advantage of.

Ivor Ivorsen

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

"I bet a fair number of them are working the system and extorting those funds..." So your basic assumption is this: most organizations/individuals seeking to assist homeless across the U.S. are dishonest people attempting to rip off the government. Do I have that right? Can you please lay out a factual basis for this assumption?


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Why is Avalon receiving funding when they still have at least part ownership of the properties on North main that they paid for (with other tax funding), and we are now using local tax money to demolish those properties for them? Is there no one evaluating the performance and history of these organizations? Is there a publically available listing of all the properties owned, partially owned, and/or managed by Avalon and how much Avalon paid for them and puts into them monthly/yearly? Is the city of Ann Arbor or the DDA or any other entity STILL providing funding/grants to Avalon?


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:41 a.m.

No One evaluates the history or performance of just about anything related to the government........................


Sat, May 4, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

One of the few things these programs help is the incomes of those people who work at them.

Angry Moderate

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

How exactly does it help homeless people when Avalon Housing reduces the number of low-income housing units?

Ivor Ivorsen

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

I don't follow your reasoning. Are you suggesting that the dedicated professionals who devote their careers to helping the homeless and needy in our community should not be paid?

David Cahill

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 12:25 p.m., do the proposed cuts in the lower part of the article apply to what appear to be definite grants in the table?

David Cahill

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Thanks for the fast response!

Katrease Stafford

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

Hi David, No, the cuts do not apply to this round of funding. These funds were applied for under the 2012 fiscal year award cycle and will not be impacted.

Pamela Bethune

Sat, May 4, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

If you add theses up, it comes to a bit over 4 million for various support services. Would it not be better spent if not spread over 7 agencies and 15 programs?