MCREST provides year round safe emergency shelter for homeless individuals and families for up to 90 days in congregations across Macomb County. The congregations provide meals, shower facilities, transportation and, when able, laundry services for our guests. During our guests’ stay, case managers work with each individual and family to develop and implement a personalized housing plan that concentrates on overcoming barriers to self-reliance such as lack of income, poor money management, mental health issues, substance abuse, and a broken personal support system.
Throughout its 30+ years, MCREST has provided emergency shelter yearly to over 500 adults and 100 children. This is our core service and definitely our strength. It is a great accomplishment to coordinate and sustain this program through a network of 70 churches for many years.
Supportive Housing Programs
Locates safe, affordable rental housing and provides the security deposit and a portion of the first year’s rent for individuals and families who have income or a reasonable prospect to secure income and agree to accept case management services working towards self-reliance. Once accepted into the program, a case manger will assist them to locate affordable housing based on their projected or current income and MCREST will provide the security deposit and rental assistance up to six months. A Case Manager will continue to implement the Housing Plan which serves as the foundation for resource coordination to address the barriers that lead to homelessness. To participate they must agree to discuss issues/challenges that lead to homelessness and agree to focus on the implementation of solutions in the Housing Plan. Case management may continue from 1 – 18 months or until they reach self-reliance. Since its inception in September of 2012, 74 families and 53 individuals are now in affordable housing and working towards self reliance.
Learning and Resource Center
The Learning and Resource Center open in September to provide our guests assistance with the application for government benefits, job readiness training, and job placement services. The Center helps fill the critical gap of income from employment that remains the missing link between emergency shelter and supportive housing services. The Center will accomplish this by providing an innovative approach to job readiness training and job placement services specifically designed to assist the homeless with finding employment. This approach, coupled with applying for government benefits, will address all of the key barriers identified in their housing plan while providing a resource that is essential to a successful transition to self-sufficiency. The following describes the services that will be provided by the Center.
MCREST will provide access to our fifteen (12) computers in the Center for our guests to utilize the Michigan Department of Human Services MI Bridges website to apply for food assistance, cash assistance, child development and care, state emergency relief, and Medicaid health insurance. MCREST plans to also assist guests enroll in Medicaid through the Health Insurance Marketplace made available through the Affordable Care Act.
Job Readiness Training
Application for Government Benefits
Our accessible Learning and Resource Center will provide the necessary job readiness assessments, employability skills training, interpersonal development (soft skills) that will lead to employment and affordable housing. The Learning and Resource Center Director designed the curriculum, conducts assessments, and provides instruction. The employability skills training and interpersonal development curriculum was designed specifically for the special needs of homeless individuals. Emphasis will include basic resume design and interviewing skills since many students have been unemployed or underemployed for months or even years. The Learning and Resource Center Director will focus on improving attitudes, building self-esteem, and creating the self-confidence that they can improve their quality of life and achieve beyond expectations. Intake to the emergency shelter will include job history and a financial analysis. If guests are unemployed or under employed they will be referred to the Center.
Job Placement Services
Once a student, completes the job readiness training, determines what career to pursue the Center will assist in developing a personalized job search plan. Each student will learn how to search for a job in the 21st century utilizing the power of the internet, networking, and other techniques. A MCREST success coach will guide a student through this difficult process.
Since 2014, 408 individuals have participated in job readiness training and of those 274 continued on to job placement services. Over 135 of those individuals have found living wage jobs. That in a great success rate of almost 50%!