Every year in late January, the Lakeshore Housing Alliance (a program of Greater Ottawa County United Way) conducts a Point-in-Time (PIT) count of homeless persons found in Ottawa County. This year, the PIT count took place on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.
During the PIT count, Lakeshore Housing Alliance (LHA) staff and volunteers, along with local law enforcement determined that there were 266 total homeless persons on that day. There were 133 persons in families with children, and 133 persons not in families with children. Of the 266 homeless, seven were unsheltered, including one 14-year-old child. This number is down from the 2014 Point-in-Time count of 387 homeless persons. LHA Program Coordinator Lyn Raymond said, “I’m reluctant to call this a downward trend in the number of persons experiencing homelessness because the Point-in-Time is just a snapshot. However, Ottawa County has implemented and expanded a number of strategies in the last year that promote long term housing stability. I am optimistic that will mean fewer persons without a place to call home in the long run.”
On the night of the 2015 PIT count, Michael was living in his car. Two weeks later, he was in permanent housing, but that’s not the whole story. In March 2014, Michael was living in his vehicle and not able to see his daughter due to his homelessness. He contacted Good Samaritan Ministries and was placed on the waiting list for a Homeless Preference Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and was approved for Rapid Re-Housing assistance. Even with financial assistance, with zero income due to health issues, finding housing was a challenge. Still searching for housing in October 2014, Michael was selected from the HCV waiting list, becoming eligible for an on-going rental subsidy. As of February 2015, Michael successfully moved into permanent housing and is looking forward to spending quality time with his daughter.
To learn more about the Lakeshore Housing Alliance, visit: www.lakeshorehousingalliance.org.