NSO celebrates completion of Detroit Healthy Housing Center, a major step in the fight against homelessness
- Gov. Gilchrist, Deputy Mayor Bettison and head of MDHHS among those joining NSO’s president and CEO to cut the ribbon on state-of-the-art center.
- Campus is first of its kind in the state and offers wraparound health care and support services and emergency shelter to help Michiganders break the cycle of homelessness.
City and State leaders and the community came together today to celebrate the completion of the Neighborhood Service Organization’s new Detroit Healthy Housing Center on the city’s east side, marking a key step in the fight to ending chronic homelessness in southeast Michigan.
The Detroit Healthy Housing Center (DHCC), located at 3426 Mack Ave., is a 56-bed, low-barrier facility that pairs emergency shelter with wraparound health care and support services. The 22,000-square-foot facility is the second and final phase of NSO’s Healthy Housing Campus, a $22 million comprehensive site that offers an innovative approach to stop homelessness. NSO is one of the largest providers in metro Detroit working to address the chronic issues of homelessness.
Remarks were given today by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Director, Elizabeth Hertel, Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison, Detroit Housing Services Office chief David Bowser and NSO’s President and CEO Linda Little.
“The Detroit Healthy Housing Center will have a tremendous impact on the unhoused population within the city of Detroit,” Deputy Mayor Bettison said. “The services provided to this community go far beyond providing just shelter and look to address both mental and physical health needs. NSO has worked to build an entire healthy-housing campus here on the east side to provide long-term solutions and stable housing for our fellow Detroiters most in need.”
Help at every step
The Detroit Healthy Housing Center (DHHC) focuses on those experiencing homelessness, including those that are medically at risk and offers transformative health and social services for its residents and community. It will help these unhoused individuals transition into permanent housing, with a 17-bed medical respite program for post-hospitalization in Detroit. The continuity of services for unhoused individuals who have complex medical needs will create access to health and wellness. It will also reduce gaps that contribute to the unhoused population's hospitalizations and emergency room visits by offering on-site medical respite and shelter services.
“Sixty percent of chronically unhoused people in the Detroit area have underlying mental illnesses or substance abuse issues. The lack of access to high-quality primary and behavioral health care preventive and wellness services adds significant cost to the entire healthcare system,” said Little, NSO’s president and CEO. “We will relieve stress on the system of care in Detroit by taking a holistic, first-of-its-kind approach to pair access to healthcare with our efforts to end homelessness. Equity is about meeting people where they are to address their needs. Our healthy housing approach is created to do just that.”
The 360 Neighborhood Wellness Center is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, located within the DHHC. The clinic is an integrated healthcare clinic in partnership with CHASS Center that offers primary care, behavioral health and dental services open to the public. There is also a community pharmacy in partnership with Genoa Healthcare. The clinic is open to the public.
“This holistic model reminds us of the fact that the fight against homelessness is a marathon, not a sprint,” Lt. Gov. Gilchrist said. “It is about addressing the root causes of homelessness and setting unhoused people up for success by helping them develop skills, pursue an education or connect with the resources they need.”
A holistic approach to ending homelessness
Medical respite is an evidence-based, continuing care strategy for individuals experiencing homelessness that offers a safe place for individuals who have completed their acute hospital treatment but are too sick to be in a shelter or on the street. This model, which has been implemented in many large cities across the country, has proven to be effective in improving the health outcomes and well-being for the population served, in addition to reducing the overall costs of care. In addition, individuals will be connected to housing solutions.
“As the creator of the City of Detroit’s first Homelessness Taskforce and someone who has worked closely with organizations and community partners that work tirelessly to identify the root causes of homelessness, I am ecstatic about the completion of the NSO’s Healthy Housing Center,” said City Council President Mary Sheffield, who represents District 5, where the new facility is located. “Their mission to address interconnectedness of housing instability and health care needs in the City of Detroit shows the dedication we as a city and our community partners have in the pursuit of housing equity and justice for all Detroiters. Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to ending homelessness in our Detroit.”
The first phase of the Detroit Healthy Housing Campus – the Clay Apartments – opened in September 2020. The two-story, 42-unit affordable housing complex in the McDougall Hunt neighborhood offers one-bedroom apartments for single adults. Thirty percent of the units are designated to individuals who have complex medical conditions. The apartments are 100 percent occupied and offer permanent supportive housing, which includes supportive services to address the economic, health and social barriers to stability.
The City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department (HRD) helped fund the campus through $4.1 million in Community Development Block Grants-CARES (CDBG-CV) funds.
“The NSO’s Detroit Healthy Housing Center is filling an incredible need in this community to provide a comprehensive set of medical and behavioral health services that Detroiters experiencing homelessness can trust and rely on,” said Julie Schneider, HRD director. “Our department is proud to partner with the NSO on this project as HRD continues its commitment to ensuring development in Detroit creates equity and opportunity for all, especially those in our community who are most vulnerable.”
Other key funders for the project include the Ballmer Group, The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Bollinger Foundation Inc., The Carls Foundation, DMC Foundation, Gregory Terrell, The Kresge Foundation, KLA Foundation, Rocket Community Fund, Metro Health Foundation and Total Health Care Foundation.
“The McDougall Hunt neighborhood has a rich history in Detroit and has experience dealing with residents with housing needs. We appreciate and recognize the importance of the decision to develop safe, comprehensive, stable housing accompanied by holistic wraparound services to a community that needs it most,” said Duane Ashford of the McDougall-Hunt Neighborhood Association. “The Detroit Healthy Housing Center will bring pivotal change to our city.”
About Neighborhood Service Organization
Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), a Detroit-based integrated health and human service agency, delivers community-based services and holistic programs for vulnerable populations. The agency provides behavioral health and primary care services, in addition to wraparound services that address barriers to housing, health and well-being. NSO serves 12,000 people annually in Wayne and Oakland counties. Learn more by visiting www.NSO-MI.org.