Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), a leading community-based integrated health and human service agency, broke ground Tuesday for Detroit’s first Healthy Housing Center (DHHC) at 3426 Mack Ave.
The 22,000-square-foot facility is the second and final phase of NSO’s Healthy Housing Campus, a comprehensive site with a holistic service delivery model that is part of a $22 million vision offering an innovative approach to end chronic homelessness in the city of Detroit.
The DHHC will provide low-barrier emergency shelter to 56 adults, focusing on the medically at risk, and will offer health and social services for its residents and neighbors. It will offer services to help homeless individuals transition into permanent housing, a 17-bed medical respite for homeless individuals to receive continuing care post-hospitalization, a fully integrated health care clinic open to the public and other on-site wraparound services, including job readiness training. The health care clinic will be accessible to the community for primary care, behavioral health, dental services, and a pharmacy.
“The NSO has been a tremendous partner and its new facility will help more people get out of and stay out of homelessness,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who was on hand for the groundbreaking. “The Healthy Housing Center will provide health services to the most vulnerable in our city and, with the Clay Apartments next door, offer a full range of services to support these residents’ transition out of homelessness and into a better, more stable life.”
The first of its kind in the state, the DHHC will deliver solutions not only for the homeless, but for the entire Detroit community. Instead of simply managing homelessness, NSO says it will set an example in eliminating homelessness through this new model. The model will foster a continuum of care for homeless individuals with complicated medical needs. By offering medical respite and shelter services on site, NSO is closing a gap that has long contributed to hospitalizations and emergency room visits for this population.
“Homeless individuals are five times more likely to be hospitalized than others and have much higher rates of readmissions and emergency department visits,” says Linda Little, CEO of NSO. “The Detroit Healthy Housing Center is an innovative solution that embodies our mission to promote equity for us all. This resource will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the individuals served, but it also will relieve stress on the system of care in Detroit. Our hope is to take these lessons learned to scale healthy housing to other communities that may benefit.”
The first phase of the DHHC — the Clay Apartments — opened in September 2020. A two-story, 42-unit affordable housing complex offering one-bedroom apartments for single adults, it has 30 percent targeted for individuals with high emergency room utilization. The apartments, which are 100 percent occupied, offer permanent supportive housing and additional wraparound services to address the economic, health, and social barriers to stability.
The City of Detroit’s Housing and Revitalization Department funded $4.1 million of the project’s cost through Community Development Block Grants CARES (CDBG-CV).
Though $10.3 million in funding has been secured for phase two of the Detroit Healthy Housing Center of the Healthy Housing Campus, nearly $1.3 million in unmet development costs remain. Those interested in contributing to the project are asked to visit nso-mi.org to learn more.
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