In Michigan, efforts to reduce homelessness are working. Between 2015 and 2017, the homeless population in the state decreased by nine percent from 69,163 individuals in 2015 to 63,024 in 2017. While the downward trend is encouraging, there are still many people with no place to sleep at night, without enough food and without access to necessities many of us take for granted. At Blue Cross, we recognize that homelessness and health are intertwined. Without steady, permanent housing, accessing health care and managing chronic health conditions is made much more difficult for individuals. We support many organizations fighting homelessness and its effects around the state in various ways. Our Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation has funded numerous grants such as this one to help address homelessness in different communities. Executive leaders have supported efforts in Detroit and Grand Rapids, while our Strengthening the Safety Netgrants bolster free and low-cost health clinics in every corner of the state so that people who need health care can access it. How can you help people who are homeless in your community?
- Donate financial assistance and material goods to community organizations who help the homeless.
- Volunteer your time at a shelter, soup kitchen, pantry or food bank to help those who are homeless and people in your community who are food-insecure.
- Raise awareness of the problem in your community. Every year a Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day is commemorated on or near Dec. 21 to remember people who have died homeless in the past year. The National Coalition for the Homeless provides a manual for people hoping to start local memorial events. The Detroit Homeless Memorial Service will be at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Friday Dec. 21 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Looking for places to donate your time or resources or need assistance with food or shelter? Here are Michigan directories of shelters and emergency food resources. There are also organizations working to secure housing for people who are homeless such as Well House in Grand Rapids and Cass Community Social Services in Detroit. If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
- Beyond the Card: Memorializing and Caring for Detroit's Homeless
- Exploring Health Care Disparities
- What Are Social Determinants of Health?
Photo credit: South_agency