Battle Creek eyeing sites for permanent supportive housing

Calhoun County

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Battle Creek city leaders are looking for more permanent solutions to lift people out of homelessness.

According to the city leaders, more than 700 people would be immediately eligible for permanent supportive housing, or PSH. The city defines PSH as tenants living independently as full leaseholders with no time limit while social and mental health services are provided on-site.

Recently, a virtual workshop was held to brainstorm where and how exactly leaders could find those facing homelessness a place to live.

“We have a demonstrated need for that type of housing,” Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing, who is among the public officeholders working to create PSH, explained. “It’s a key next step that moves them from a shelter environment to a place where they can call home and get the services and support that they need.”

Advocates are searching for a location of at least four acres that is close to places addressing basic needs.

“Typically, a good location is going to have access to certain amenities,” Dearing said. “Key amenities are going to be access to food — for example, a nearby grocery store — public transportation, work opportunities, etc.”

He said the goal is to choose a location in four to six months and have everything built and finished in 2023.

City leaders say 80% of funding for the PSH would come from a tax credit program through the state developmental housing authority, with the remaining gap filled by local stakeholders.

“We’re willing as an elected body, as an administration and as local residents to come together and support a permanent supportive housing development,” Dearing said. “It would again send a strong message that Battle Creek cares about its residents.”

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