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To increase awareness of the problems of people who are homeless and to the development and carrying out of strategies to create permanent solutions to homelessness in our community.
The Homeless Action Network of Detroit (HAND) serves as the Continuum of Care for the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park, Michigan. HAND is a membership-based organization comprised nonprofit organizations, businesses, government entities, and individuals committed to identifying and applying solutions to homelessness in our community.
What is the Continuum of Care?
The Continuum of Care is a planning, coordinating, and decision-making body comprised of non-profit service providers; representatives from the city, county, and state government; educational agencies; faith-based organizations; and individuals from the community.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), one of the largest federal funding sources for programs that address the needs of people who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless, initiated the Continuum of Care. In the mid 1990's, HUD recognized the need for a more coordinated, collaborative, and community-driven approach to awarding funds to organizations providing services to the homeless. Because of this, HUD implemented the Continuum of Care system, charging it with the responsibility to plan and apply for HUD McKinney-Vento funds, which include the Supportive Housing Program, Shelter Plus Care Program, and Section 8 SRO Moderate Rehabilitation. (More information about these individual programs may be accessed from HUD's website). Each year HAND coordinates this funding application, resulting in over $20 million coming to Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park for services to prevent and address the needs of the homeless in our cities.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) also relies on the Continuum of Care to provide local insight into the needs in a community and to oversee the application of some funding opportunities made possible by the State of Michigan.
What does HAND do?
Since its inception, the role of HAND, as the Continuum of Care, has grown from simply managing the yearly funding application to HUD. Today, HAND is responsible for strategically planning and implementing housing and service programs that have been proven to reduce and eliminate homelessness. This community-planning process encourages participation from service providers, governmental agencies, faith-based organizations, private businesses, advocates for the homeless, educational agencies, foundations, and people who are currently or have been homeless.
"Moving Forward Together: A 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park" has become the framework which drives the Continuum of Care process, as HAND strives to develop a service delivery system that focuses less on a "stop-gap" approach and instead targets resources to programs and services that have been proven to successfully prevent, reduce, and ultimately end homelessness.
Through monthly meetings, our members and community partners are kept informed about services and resources in the community for people who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless, opportunities for advocacy, and networking among all participants.
HAND provides education for members and the general public on issues related to homelessness prevention, services for the homeless, the development of affordable housing, and effective management and program development.
HAND also hosts the annual Walk Against Homelessness each year during Homeless Awareness Week. This walk-a-thon not only raises awareness about the needs of the homeless in our community, but also raises funding to support HAND activities.