A closer look at Community Health Services: Housing Bureau for Seniors

May 25, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

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The Housing Bureau for Seniors (HBS) recognizes that stable housing is imperative to physical and mental well-being. HBS informs and empowers older adults and those who care about them with guidance and resources regarding sustainable housing.

Since 1983, HBS has helped more than 13,000 older adults and their families throughout Washtenaw County.

HBS recognizes that older adults can face many unique challenges as they age — and housing should never be one of those challenges. HBS has several programs that work with clients and their families to provide assistance in housing counseling, foreclosure prevention and eviction prevention. With the support of Michigan Medicine, HBS is able to offer these services at no cost to the public

What HBS does:

  • Provides older adult caregivers and family members support and access to the resources they need to find and maintain permanent, sustainable housing.
  • Helps to prevent homelessness among older adult renters through the Eviction Prevention program.
  • Manages the annual Senior Living Week events and workshops, providing information, education and resources for older adults and their caregivers.
  • Provides one-on-one assistance to hundreds of individuals annually, and reaches countless others through community events, educational programs and other outreach efforts,
  • Offers decision-making tools and resources to assess options around housing transitions with the Housing Counseling program.
  • Assists older adult homeowners to maintain home ownership and navigate barriers around mortgages and property taxes through the Foreclosure Prevention program.
  • Provides tax preparation services to hundreds of older adults on an annual basis, putting more than $750,000 refund dollars back into the pockets of underserved community members.
  • The Housing Bureau for Seniors department is now able to receive referrals via MiChart for coordinated housing assistance for Michigan Medicine patients.

Finding solutions: A true story

A 63-year-old client started having difficulties with the adult daughter she lived with. The client had schizophrenia and the daughter was helping the client live more independently. The daughter was also the client’s payee and was taking care of paying the bills and other needs the client had.

Shortly after a dispute, the daughter moved out abruptly. The client knew she would not be able to pay the rent on her own, and she feared eviction. Adult Protective Services (APS) contacted the Housing Bureau for Seniors (HBS) for assistance with the situation.

The HBS Eviction Prevention case manager did a thorough assessment and offered to help the client find affordable housing. The case manager worked with APS to contact the client’s son, whom the client hadn’t heard from in a while. The son became the client’s new payee and assisted her in applying and becoming accepted at Towne Center. The client avoided formal eviction and now has permanent, affordable, subsidized housing in her community.

Big Hearts for Seniors

HBS is also a part of Big Hearts for Seniors, an annual event that supports critical services for aging community members.

This collaborative is comprised of five community-rooted programs within Michigan Medicine serving older adults: Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, Turner Senior Wellness Program, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Silver Club Memory Programs and HBS.

These programs help older adults access home-delivered meals, sustainable housing options, support to remain independent, learning in retirement opportunities, relief from social isolation and programs for those with dementia.

Since its inception in 2006, Big Hearts for Seniors has raised more than $500,000 through various events, including the Big House/Big Heart races, silent auctions and documentary film screenings. All funds raised are used to provide needed services to older adults.

On Thursday, May 27, Big Hearts for Seniors will present Big Hearted Stories: Generations, a free virtual event. This engaging program will provide a platform for talented local storytellers to share their heart-warming, true-life experiences. These compelling stories will bring laughter, inspiration, and maybe even a few tears.

Register for the event here!

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