“Housing matters. We contend that if we don’t get housing right, nothing else works,” said Habitat for Humanity Michigan Executive Director, Sandy Pearson, in her opening speech for the How Housing Changed My Life rally and storytelling event.
The event, held on July 26, 2017, brought organizations, community members and those who have experienced homelessness together on the Michigan State Capitol steps to tell Congress to increase federal spending for HUD programs and invest in affordable housing.
The event was a part of the National Housing Week of Action (July 22-29). Over thirty events took place across the country, including rallies, teach-ins, press conferences, site visits and more. At the How Housing Changed My Life event, ten individuals shared their personal stories of homelessness and how federal programs changed their lives.
“All people deserve quality housing that they can afford. Food, clothing, shelter — it’s basic, it’s biblical,” Pearson went on to say. “In Michigan last year we had more than 66,000 men, women and children experience homelessness. At any given moment tens of thousands of people and families are one emergency bill away from losing their home and being evicted.”
The following numbers Pearson cited further speak to the importance of HUD programs — in 2016 approximately 61,000 Michigan households had federally funded rent subsidies, and approximately 24,000 people lived in public housing.
“And these numbers don’t capture the daily struggle to budget expenses between groceries, childcare and rent that these families face all over our state. And these numbers only count those that can be counted,” Pearson said. “Countless more move from house to house, unit to unit, and are in a cycle of eviction. Housing is simply unaffordable for too many and we together must have the will to make change happen and put housing at the forefront of our minds.”
It is estimated that Michigan would lose $222,081,806 as a result of the administration’s proposed HUD budget cuts. That would affect the 24,142 Michigan families living in public housing, and remove vouchers from 7,061 families.
While the National Housing Week of Action has concluded, our work is far from over. It is imperative that we keep calling our members of Congress to tell them that we need to remove spending caps and invest in affordable housing. For talking points and phone numbers for Congress, you can use these resources:
- Find your elected officials
- Learn more and get talking points from National Income Housing Coalition
- Learn more and get talking points from OurHomes-OurVoices
- Learn more and get talking points from NASW
For more information on what HUD is, how housing intersects with healthcare and how homelessness affects people across different stages of life, head to bit.ly/housingweekofaction.