Each year, one week before Thanksgiving, National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger* and Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During this week, a number of schools, communities and cities take part in a nationwide effort to bring greater awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness.
In Michigan, the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness raises awareness year round. At their Homeless Awareness in Michigan site, you can find out more about who is experiencing homelessness in our state, why, and how you can help.
- There are more than 85,000 people who are homeless living in Michigan. That’s more people than live in the following cities: Dearborn, Troy, Southfield and Kalamazoo. That’s more people than double the populations of Muskegon, Midland and Holland.
- More than half of Michigan’s homeless population is made up of families, and one in three people who are homeless is a child.
- Some of the reasons for homelessness include lack of affordable housing, inability to make a living wage, and health care crises. Additional factors include the national and local economic crisis, mental illness, domestic violence, lack of affordable health care and other factors.
How you can help:
Support area service providers in the work they do to combat homelessness – you can donate money, donate items, volunteer, or advocate. Also support programs that work to build financial security for families and programs that help struggling families avoid or mitigate foreclosure.
Make your elected officials and other policy makers aware that you care about the issue of homelessness.
Click here to learn more about supportive housing and how it can help end homelessness.
Other ideas for helping to end homeless can be found here.
*We will write about hunger in Michigan, and what you can do to alleviate it, in an upcoming blog post. Feel free to send us statistics (with sources) and ideas.
[Article adapted from Community Housing Network and the Michigan Homeless Awareness Week website. Figures and statistics taken from various sources, including the National Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless Awareness in Michigan, Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness and the U.S. Department of Labor.]