MCAH was awarded a small grant from the National Low Income Housing Coalition to sub-grant to Michigan not-for-profits serving individuals experiencing homelessness or housing instability. 


Across the state we are hearing of organizations reinventing their programming to serve the changing needs of their clients – from homeless shelters staying open 24 hours a day, to community meals embracing a ‘to-go’ model so that folks can still eat without being in a congregate setting, to street outreach providing essential personal protective equipment. We’ve been amazed at the ingenuity of community partnerships in creating new shelter spaces out of empty buildings and negotiating with hotels and motels to place quarantined families. And of course we’re honored to know so many of the staff and volunteers who are working long hours and putting their health at risk to be on the frontlines of this work.

When the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) made available a small pool of funds for us to sub-grant to organizations serving individuals experiencing homelessness or housing security in Michigan we thought – Great, this is just the little bit of flexible funding our partners need!


Over the course of five days we received 176 grant applications, representing each corner of the state and asking for over 20 times the dollar amount that we had available. We spent two weeks combing through applications, feeling the urgency and stress with each written word.

We could only fund 11 organizations.

The work that is being done in Michigan to protect individuals and families who are homeless or at the precipice of becoming homeless is amazing. But, even with the incoming federal dollars that will go directly to organizations serving this population, there isn’t enough funding to help everyone. Staff and shelter guests are testing positive for COVID-19. People are going hungry while they wait for unemployment. Families are scared about what happens when they can’t afford rent next month.

On May 5, people around the world donated for #GivingTuesdayNow in response to the immense need around COVID-19. But we challenge Michiganders to continue to give – whatever and whenever they can – to support the amazing organizations working to prevent and end homelessness in their community.

We also encourage our philanthropic partners such as community foundations and corporate sponsors to make available the flexible funds that will enable these organizations to succeed in their mission, even as that mission shifts to respond to this global pandemic. Funders Together to End Homelessness has released their Recommendations for Philathropy that advise funders who to meet immediate needs and build capacity for long term strategies.

As we come together to protect Michiganders from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, we must remember those who are among some of our most vulnerable residents: the low-income households who are at-risk of losing their homes and the individuals and families who are already living homeless. We were already seeing an increase in the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in our state. Without increased financial support for the programs serving this population, who knows what that number will look like next year?

By Laurel Burchfield, MCAH Manager of Marketing, Growth, and Development. You can contact her at: