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Meet Eric Hufnagel

1. Please share your job title and a description of the work you do?

I’ve been Executive Director of MCAH since the summer of 2011. As an E.D., you have a wide range of responsibilities and can wear many hats at any given time. I’m responsible, of course, for typical administrative activities and provide leadership to a team of 20. I’m also involved programmatically through various projects and regular engagement with a wide range of state and local partners whether it be involvement with the Michigan Campaign to End Homelessness, the Michigan Homeless Policy Council, or 1:1 meetings. I also serve as a member of the Michigan Balance of State Governance Council.

2. How does your work help homeless people, or help more people become housed?

The work I do – and the organization, in general – is often not well understood because it’s hard to quantify and/or make direct correlation of its impact. I feel I’m most effective in being a voice in the room, to be an advocate whether it relates to system enhancements or communicating with elected officials about regulatory and funding needs. The outcome often
isn’t immediate or obvious but I see the progress being made.

3. Is there one project or achievement with MCAH that you are particularly proud
of?

As noted above, sometimes the impact of our work isn’t as obvious so I want to point one achievement that I think goes under the radar relating to access to state IDs. It’s relatively common for individuals who are homeless to have lost and/or been unable to renew a driver’s license or other form of accepted identification. It’s often a barrier to accessing important
things like benefits, housing, and employment. I was hearing it repeatedly from providers around the state for years so began to elevate the issue, eventually speaking with folks in
multiple communities about siloed efforts to address the issue and then having MCAH take the lead on an initiative to bring partners together to problem-solve the issue. While it took several years, a solution was developed to facilitate a homeless individual’s access to not only a
state ID but access to vital documents – including fee waivers through the Secretary of State’s office, city/county clerk’s offices and MDHHS (i.e., adoptee birth certificates maintained through the State Registry).

4. Is there anything else you want to say or would want people to know?

The reason I – and MCAH – do what we do is because the work is so important and needed and no other organization is solely focused on the issue of homelessness in the state of Michigan We have an important mission and a shared vision to “advance housing justice and make ending homelessness a shared priority.”

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