Michigan has received approval from FEMA to provide housing for homeless individuals at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer has released the following statement:
Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced Michigan has received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide housing alternatives such as hotels and motels for homeless individuals who may need to quarantine in response to or are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The state will work with local partners to provide individual housing in hotels or other facilities to homeless individuals who:
- Test positive for COVID-19 and need to be isolated but do not require hospitalization, including those discharged from hospitals
- Have been exposed to COVID-19 and are identified by a health care professional as needing quarantine but do not need hospitalization
- Need individual sheltering as a precautionary measure because they belong to a high-risk group such as people over age 65 or with certain underlying health conditions
“We must do everything in our power to protect our most vulnerable populations during this ongoing public health crisis, and that includes protecting the health and safety of homeless Michiganders, no matter their circumstances,” Governor Whitmer said. “These resources will help shield homeless Michiganders most susceptible to the virus.”
The announcement follows a public health order from Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. The public health order is required by FEMA to request approval for reimbursement. FEMA funding reimburses communities up to 75% of eligible program costs.
“Individuals who are homeless always face health risks, but the risk is so much greater because of COVID-19 — for them and for their communities,” Gordon said. “These hotel units can reduce infection rates and save lives.”
The hospitality industry and other private-sector partners will be critical in facilitating this effort. Governor Whitmer and Director Gordon sincerely thank the state’s partners in the lodging industry for the role they are playing in providing temporary shelter to these Michiganders and helping to reduce infections.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.