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Homeless People Dropped Off From Other Communities Add To Washtenaw County's Challenge

Nov 18, 2014

Communities across Michigan struggle with homeless individuals, but Washtenaw County officials are dealing with an extra problem.

Credit Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Over a third of the visitors to the Delonis Homeless Shelter last winter came from communities outside of Washtenaw County. Many were dropped off by agencies from their hometown.

Chair of the County Commissioners Yousef Rabhi says this means local tax payers are funding other communities' response to homelessness. It's also a practice that takes homeless people away from their safety net. "Has implications for, you know, the Department of Health and Human Services, it has implications for mental health service provisions, etc. And so it actually does a disservice to folks when they are dropped off in a community that isn't their own," Rabhi says.

Rabhi says it's wrong for communities to drop off homeless people, but the county won't be criminalizing the individuals.

Ann Arbor City Council approved $89,000 for a daytime warming center and emergency overnight shelter. 

The County Commissioners Ways and Means Committee will consider an equal contribution to the effort Wednesday night.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.