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Health Care for the Homeless
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MPCA is committed to working with members and partner agencies to better understand and respond to the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Modeled after a demonstration project jointly funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Charitable Trust, the Health Care for the Homeless program was initiated in 1987 as part of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. In 1996, Congress passed the Health Centers Consolidation Act, which joined the Health Care for the Homeless program to the community, migrant, and public housing primary health care programs under a single authority called the Consolidated Health Center Program.


The Health Care for the Homeless program provides federal grants to nonprofit organizations to deliver primary health care and substance use disorder services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The Health Care for the Homeless program provides a multidisciplinary approach to the delivery of care by combining systems of primary care, substance use disorders and mental health services, patient management, and education with aggressive outreach.


Homelessness in Michigan

Michigan's Campaign to End Homelessness (MCTEH) 2018 Annual Report states that there are 65,104 individuals experiencing literal homelessness (individuals and families residing on the streets, in emergency shelters or in other places not fit for human habitation). As summarized by the campaign: “Housing is a basic need and ending homelessness is an achievable goal. No person should be forced to sleep on the streets, in the woods or on a cot in a shelter on any night, in any town or city. Any homeless experience should be brief, rare and nonrecurring.”


Celebrating Michigan’s successes in 2018:

  • State law changed to enable homeless households to receive free state identification cards.
  • State housing policy changes have led to increases in permanent supportive housing and extremely low-income units.
  • Youth (aged 18-24) and veteran homelessness continues to decrease.


Recognizing the challenges for people experiencing homelessness in 2018:

  • Thirty-one percent of seniors are experiencing homelessness for the first time after age 55.
  • Forty-four percent of Michigan’s homeless population reports having a disability.
  • Family homelessness is increasing, and the average monthly household income across the state of $649 is well below the amount needed to sustain housing.
  • Fifty-two percent of the homeless population in Michigan are identified as African American, yet they make up
  • only 13 percent of the state’s overall population.
  • Sixty percent of homeless families are led by a single mother.
  • About 1 in 4 homeless, unaccompanied minors have had experience in the Michigan foster care system.

You can read more data from the report here.


Homelessness at Michigan Health Centers

In 2018, Michigan health centers served 48,866 patients experiencing homelessness. 

Health Care for the Homeless Sites in Michigan


For more information, contact Jackie Chandler.


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