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Goodwill, city team up on housing plan for chronically homeless

May 2—TRAVERSE CITY — Apartments in a former lodge in Traverse City may quickly turn into house for as many as 27 individuals at present with out shelter.

That’s if city commissioners comply with a $360,000 service contract with Goodwill Northern Michigan that City Manager Liz Vogel is planning to request on Monday.

Goodwill Northern Michigan is searching for to bridge a 12 months lengthy hole in funding for East Bay Flats, an house constructing on Munson Avenue that it purchased in November, Vogel mentioned.

The city fee will meet six days after Safe Harbor, a seasonal in a single day homeless shelter on Wellington Street, closed its doorways till fall. Each of its visitors needed to discover some place else to spend the night time, and a number of other went to a wooded space close to Eleventh and Division streets referred to as the Pines.

“I just think that this is a moment in time to step up to the mark,” Vogel mentioned, “and Goodwill’s come and made an ask that’s going to help get 27 people who are chronically homeless, most of whom will be in the Pines — if they aren’t there already — into housing.

“I imply, that is actual, that is as actual because it will get, and that is unimaginable.”

Goodwill Northern Michigan already secured Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the state in April, and a tax break from the city in November, as reported in the Record-Eagle.

Both of these combine to help underwrite the nonprofit’s plans to turn up to 63 of East Bay Flats’ apartments into homes for people facing chronic homelessness who have a documented disability or who are fleeing domestic violence.

But the state housing agency won’t award those tax credits until June 2025, Vogel said. So the service agreement between city and nonprofit could fund and start the program even sooner.

Services will include housing-based case management at East Bay Flats, Vogel said. Residents there could also access services for mental health, substance abuse or employment assistance for as long as they need it.

“The aim via HBCM is to be sure that the people who find themselves moved in, that they efficiently retain their housing and so they have alternatives for private development and growth,” Vogel said.

Separately, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation helped raise about $50,000 to place two rental portable toilets, two “competition sinks” — like the plastic, foot-powered sinks on East Front Street during its 2020 closure — and two solar benches, Vogel said. Those benches will have one outlet on each end so people can charge their mobile phones.

This comes after community members and organizations working on homelessness issues told city administrators The Pines needs sanitary solutions, Vogel said. Although the eventual goal is to end camping there, in the meantime, the city must acknowledge that people are staying there, she said.

Both sinks and portable toilets should be in place by mid-May, Vogel said. Plans are to place them in a more visible location and have them under surveillance to avoid the previous problems of vandalism and misuse.

Check Record-Eagle.com for updates to this growing story.

Editor’s notice: This article has been up to date to appropriate a reporter’s error giving the improper variety of residences in East Bay Flats that may home individuals who have been homeless. It is 63. May 2, 2024

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