Ten years ago Washtenaw County officials came together and drafted a blueprint to end homelessness. While much has been accomplished, the issue remains a challenge. Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and Chair of the Washtenaw County Commissioners Yousef Rabhi are hosting a new conversation on Affordable Housing and Homelessness.
The talk will center around the needs and challenges of today in providing enough affordable housing and assistance for homeless individuals. Yousef Rabhi wants the conversation to serve as a way for different stakeholders to meet and talk about the impacts of homelessness and then find some solutions.
Rabhi says the disparities between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti need to be acknowledged and addressed. "Work actively to find solutions to how we can create a more equitable community where people aren't forced to live in a community because they're priced out of another community, but where people can choose to live in a community that they feel is right for them," Rabhi says.
Some of that discussion may center on a proposal to build affordable housing on Platt Road at the site of the former Juvenile Detention Center next to County Farm Park.
Local efforts can help, but Hiefjte wants a regional and statewide approach. That's because 40 percent of the homeless people served by the county's system last winter came from communities outside of Washtenaw that don't provide enough services for those in need.