The goal of the “Improving the Homeless Response System” initiative is to support each CHIR community with systematically addressing current barriers to ensuring that individuals and families experiencing homelessness can be housed quickly and permanently.

The Northwest Michigan 10-county region has a long-standing history of a robust Coalition to End Homelessness that has done impactful work for many years. The Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region (NMCHIR) has worked over the past few years to improve the wellbeing of the region while reducing unnecessary medical costs through effective collaboration for systems change. The NMCHIR now aims to foster a culture change that provides authentic collaboration across health and housing systems to better meet the needs of residents, create opportunities of cross training, and better leverage existing resources to fill community gaps.

The planning phase for this proposal occurred between December 2018 and March 2019 and heavily relied on bringing an extensive group of community representatives together to identify ways to collaborate and grow the influence of supports for the homeless population to improve the homeless response system. The expected impact of this effort will be a cohesive, collaborative, homeless response system across the Northwest Region. The funding for this proposal will be used to lay the groundwork for strategic collaboration and policy development to ensure this work is sustainable, after the initial funding period.

The overarching strategy related to this proposal is to develop a human centered service design process that will inform discharge policies. It will build a visualization of how people move through the health and behavioral systems, information that is provided at each point of service, and responsibility for hand-offs from the health and behavioral health providers to the homelessness service system. Included in this design project is the development of shared language, enhanced communications strategies, and cross training.

Initial problem statement video