State honors Community Housing Network

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published January 26, 2022

 CHN President and CEO Marc Craig holds up a special tribute from the state of Michigan commemorating the organization’s 20th anniversary as a community leader in innovative, equitable and sustainable affordable housing solutions.

CHN President and CEO Marc Craig holds up a special tribute from the state of Michigan commemorating the organization’s 20th anniversary as a community leader in innovative, equitable and sustainable affordable housing solutions.

Photo provided by Andrea Walker

Advertisement

TROY — The Troy-based nonprofit Community Housing Network recently received a special tribute from the state of Michigan to commemorate its 20th anniversary as a community leader in innovative, equitable and sustainable affordable housing solutions.

The tribute was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and is dedicated to the outstanding impact CHN has had on the homeless community in southeast Michigan for the past 20 years.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, CHN has been on the frontlines of assisting thousands of individuals through effective distribution of federal Eviction Diversion and Covid Emergency Rental Assistance Funding. Continuing to find ways to meet the needs of their clients, Community Housing Network remains true to its mission of creating access to safe, affordable housing,” Whitmer wrote in the tribute. “In Special Tribute, Therefore, this tribute is dedicated to commemorating the Community Housing Network for the outstanding impact the organization has had on the homeless community in Southeast Michigan over the past 20 years.”

CHN covers Oakland County and parts of Macomb and Wayne counties, helping provide resources to keep people in their homes, and offering housing options for low-income families and utility assistance for those in need.

“It is terrific to be recognized and it’s a tribute to our staff who, throughout the years, particularly now with COVID, rose to the occasion and met the growing needs of the community,” said CHN President and CEO Marc Craig. “We have actually received a few different kinds of recognition. 2021 was our 20th year of serving the community. We received a proclamation from the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, the state Senate also had a proclamation, and now the governor’s office also recognized our work.”

Currently, CHN and three other partner agencies manage $53 million in COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance funding, which helps those facing eviction or who are having trouble paying other housing-related expenses.

“In the early going, all of our funding came from Oakland County Community Mental Health,” explained Craig. “Our focus was to do property management for people they served with disabilities, establishing a housing resource center where people with disabilities and their families could find out about available housing resources, and to access different resources and create additional housing resources for those with disabilities in an inclusive and integrative manner.”

Craig said that community support has allowed CHN to widen the scope of the aid it provides for the community.

“Our scope has broadened since our founding,” he said. “We’ve been successful in accessing large amounts of outside resources. OCCMH is still our single largest funder, but we now access funds from HUD and are the largest permanent housing provider in Oakland and Macomb counties. We’ve leveraged $100 million in housing opportunities for the community.”

Craig went on to say that he is glad to have CHN recognized, since so many members of the organization have been putting in extra time and effort due to COVID-19.

“I also wanted to underscore how with COVID, that we have grown significantly in the last 20 years, but because of COVID funding for emergency rental assistance, we had to ramp up to meet the need of people losing their homes because of COVID and how people were losing jobs or losing income,” he said. “We had to increase our staffing level by 50% in the course of a few months to help keep people from being evicted or losing utilities. Thousands of individuals and families were kept from losing their homes.”

He stressed that housing is often the foundation upon which people build their lives. Without a reliable, safe and clean place to live, most people are unable to address other issues that might be preventing them from getting their life on track.

“Our work is grounded in the philosophy that people with disabilities or who are low or moderate income need to be included in every community,” Craig said. “We’re experiencing higher concentrations of people having trouble staying in their homes right now, so we need to look at how to address that as a public health issue. Having a place to live is called a ‘social determinant of health.’ In other words, if you don’t have a roof over your head, most other aspects of your life are negatively affected. You can’t get a job without a residence or get your kids to school, for example. We want to make sure there’s a home for everyone across the state.”

Craig hopes this award will encourage others to help CHN in its mission to help make sure everyone in the community has a home.

“We have a fundraiser coming up,” he remarked. “We haven’t determined if it will be in person or virtual. It is called ‘Bring it Home.’ We do it every year, and it is our biggest fundraiser, and we raise a lot of money each year to help support our work. More information is available on our website: www.communityhousingnetwork.org.”

Advertisement