ANN ARBOR, MI — Pairing affordable housing with supportive services for tenants is helping vulnerable populations stay housed in Ann Arbor, a new study shows.

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission partnered with Arin Yu, a graduate student in the University of Michigan’s urban and regional planning program, to complete the study released this week, analyzing the impact of supportive services offered at eight Housing Commission properties in 2020-21.

Of the 384 households included in the study, 91% of tenants voluntarily received some form of supportive services through nonprofit community partners such as Avalon Housing, Community Action Network and the Peace Neighborhood Center, as well as government agencies such as Washtenaw County Community Mental Health.

That includes services such as accessing community resources, mental health support, accessing medical care, assistance with basic needs such as food, education and employment support, substance-use recovery, assistance with daily living, programs for youth and families and eviction-prevention services.

Supportive services

A chart from a new study report showing the mix of supportive services used by the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s single-adult tenants in 2020-21.Ann Arbor Housing Commission

Those services help people achieve housing stability and lead healthier, more productive lives, housing officials said, calling the study’s findings encouraging.

Among the key findings: About 40% of households were homeless prior to getting into Housing Commission apartments with supportive services and 97% stayed housed for at least one year, exceeding the national average of 86%.

The study also concluded eviction rates were far lower at the Housing Commission in 2020-21 than local and statewide averages from 2018.

Housing Commission Executive Director Jennifer Hall said the findings suggest an immediate need for increasing resources to support the supportive housing model.

“Tenant supportive services funding is critical for the ongoing success of the AAHC’s housing programs,” Hall said in a statement, noting the city provides over $600,000 per year to the Housing Commission to pass through to nonprofit partners through the city’s rebate from a countywide mental health and public safety millage, and up to 20% of the city’s new affordable housing millage can be used for tenant services.

The Housing Commission notes its nonprofit partners still must raise funds from donations, philanthropies and government sources to fully pay for services.

Read the full study report here and individual success stories from supportive housing programs here.


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