Ann Arbor shelter launches campaign to support homeless individuals in Washtenaw County

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

A woman puts her face in her hands. (Pixabay)

ANN ARBOR – The Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, in partnership with Washtenaw County Community Mental Health, has launched a new fundraising campaign to address increased mental health needs of homeless individuals in the local community.

The two organizations will also be signing a Mental Health Awareness Proclamation in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.

“With 70% of our shelter clients suffering from mental illness, which was exasperated by COVID; we’re asking for the community’s support,” SAWC executive director Dan Kelly said in a release. “In addition to the Proclamation, we’ve launched a Mental Health $100,000 Gift Challenge to address this crisis. In partnership with WCCMH, through our Housing Crises Stabilization Program, we’ve been able to address some of our clients’ mental illness, but the mental health crisis is so great, that we need to expand our programming.”

Donations to the Mental Health Matching Gift Challenge will help support the establishment of a new mental health case manager who will serve up to 15 clients at a time who suffer from persistent and severe mental illnesses.

“The Mental Health Case Manager’s expertise in crisis management, de-escalation, on-site therapy intervention, peer support advocacy, medication management and proper housing placement will support improving outcomes in addressing mental illness among SAWC and WCCMH clients,” reads a release.

“It is more critical than ever that we bring awareness to mental health and the impact it can have on homelessness,” Washtenaw County Community Mental Health executive director Trish Cortez said in a statement. “COVID has certainly increased the mental health issues we are seeing in our community, and I believe we will continue to see an increase. I am so very grateful for the partnership we have with our shelter and its leadership during these unprecedented times.”

To learn more about the campaign, click here.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.