Up to this point, we’ve been looking at this problem from the perspective of the people moving between complex systems – now, we’d like to look more closely at the people themselves.

The community of Manistee, MI has an ongoing opportunity to serve those at the intersection of healthcare and homelessness in Manistee County. We’ve engaged leaders from this community in a cross-sector series of conversations to better understand what those opportunities might be.

For the purposes of this project, “homeless” means an individual or family who is sheltered, on the streets or living in a place not meant for permanent human habitation like a camper or even a house without running water. For homeless clients, maintaining health is a constant struggle.

Residents of Manistee County who are truly homeless can be supported through the established Coordinated Entry Call Center for Homeless Services. But because of this tight-knit rural community, few people at risk will qualify for the HUD definition of truly homeless: they may be able to cobble together solutions for shelter, but by doing this they remain on the edge of safety.

Clients have typically become confused trying to navigate multiple agencies on their own. Each agency they approach will develop a plan, then do their assessment focused on what they deliver. This may result in multiple different plans; because of this, too much time is spent administratively and no one agency gets to know the client well enough to help them navigate EVERY system.

We’ve proposed a number of potential interventions that this community can undertake with the leadership of the Manistee Human Services Collaborative Body (HSCB). For our neighbors in Manistee that don’t meet the HUD qualification of “literally homeless,” our goal in this work has been to draw the network tighter so that responsibility for helping those in crisis can be more evenly distributed among providers in Manistee.

NMCHIR Manistee Recommendations

Manistee MI Healthcare and Homelessness Concept