You are here:
News>

Oakland County Tackles Homelessness with Community Partners

Public Date: 11/18/2013 12:00 AM
Contact: Kathleen Forzley, R., MPA, Manager Oakland County Health Division
Phone Number: 248-858-1410
Pontiac, Michigan -- County Executive L. Brooks Patterson will discuss how Oakland County collaborates with community partners to impact homelessness at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, on Detroit Public TV’s "A Wider World." The episode will mark National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. Oakland County Health Division formed the Oakland County Homeless Healthcare Collaboration in 2012 to bring together community partners and improve access to healthcare for those experiencing homelessness in Oakland County.

"Our Health Division has done a tremendous job of bringing together almost 100 individuals from 49 different healthcare and service agencies to work on the issue of homelessness and healthcare in Oakland County," Patterson said.

The Oakland County Homeless Healthcare Collaboration is unique in Michigan. It brings together healthcare and service agencies to address the issue of homelessness and healthcare. It has established a communication portal to connect partners to useful and relevant information. The National Association of Counties gave Oakland County an award this year for creating and facilitating this community-wide, problem-solving initiative. With only a year under its belt, the collaboration has made great progress.

"During our initial meeting, we identified many barriers and gaps to healthcare for those experiencing homelessness," said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager/health officer. "Through this collaboration, we have improved communication between hospitals, shelters, and other service providers and are working toward finding solutions to these barriers."

Health Division brought together the Oakland County Homeless Healthcare Collaboration after the county’s Nurse on Call hotline reported an increase in the number of individuals experiencing economic difficulties in the wake of the Great Recession. Data from Oakland Schools also indicated a significant increase in the number of homeless students.

For more information about the Oakland County Homeless Healthcare Collaboration, contact the Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533.

About National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week
Each year, one week before Thanksgiving, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Participating in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week not only brings greater awareness to the community, but also helps to promote the national endeavor to end hunger and homelessness. The plight of those without a home can be both lonely and difficult. Addressing their struggles by organizing and participating in National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week may bring greater solidarity and understanding, as well as promote future involvement. Events, such as "One Night Without a Home," help people realize the difficulties that homeless persons face daily. Talk about these issues with community coordinators and discuss what impact such an event might have on the community. It is imperative to dispel myths that label homelessness as someone else's problem or claim that an end to homelessness is impossible. For more information, visit http://nationalhomeless.org.

For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Oakland County Health Division, at 248-858-1410.