Lansing, MI – October 19, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) announced today Ellen Kisinger-Rothi, Executive Director of Housing Resource, Inc. in Kalamazoo, is the recipient of the 2010 Carla Javits Award for her dedicated service and forward thinking in the Campaign to End Homelessness in Michigan.
Kisinger-Rothi, who also serves as the Continuum of Care (CoC) Chair for Kalamazoo County, received the award during the fifth annual Summit on Ending Homelessness that concludes today at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University. The event is the largest of its kind in the nation and brings together more than 400 experts and policymakers on efforts to reduce homelessness by eliminating unnecessary regulatory barriers and promoting new policies that are making quality housing more affordable and accessible.
“This award really is a tribute to the leadership and staffs of the Kalamazoo Area Coalition to End Homelessness who continually strive to help our most vulnerable citizens find homes and improve the quality of life in our communities,” Kisinger-Rothi said. “I am proud to be a part of that work alongside my colleagues as well as representatives from government, philanthropy and mainstream systems.”
The Carla Javits Award, named after the acclaimed philanthropic leader who is the president of the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) in San Francisco, is given out each year at the Summit to honor the hard work and commitment of a dedicated individual who is a leader in spearheading Michigan’s 10-Year Campaign to End Homelessness. The Michigan Campaign to End Homelessness, coordinated by MSHDA with state agencies, is the nation’s only statewide strategic initiative and is tailored to the diverse needs and challenges of each of Michigan’s 83 counties.
For more than 25 years, Ellen has been instrumental in leading the effort to end homelessness in Kalamazoo County and throughout the West Michigan region,” said MSHDA Interim Executive Director Gary Heidel. “Despite the economic challenges facing our state, she has not wavered in her desire to secure safe and affordable housing for every resident in Kalamazoo County.
“Ellen is a catalyst for seeking long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes for homelessness,” Heidel added. “Her efforts recognize the dignity of clients, the importance of building a civil and safe community and the multiplied benefits of working together.”
Among the activities Kisinger-Rothi has helped move forward is a new initiative within Kalamazoo County’s 8th District Court called the Eviction Diversion Program. The pilot project includes partnering with tenants, landlords and Department of Human Services and Housing Resources Inc. staff to prevent or resolve evictions more quickly. The program also improves the coordination of legal and social service interventions, preventing homelessness for numerous families facing eviction right at the court facility.
In addition to the Eviction Diversion Program, Housing Resource Center received one of 23 national pilot grants for the Supportive Housing Program Rapid Re-housing Demonstration Project. Under Kisinger-Rothi’s guidance, the Housing Resource Center, the city of Kalamazoo and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Affordable Housing Partnership have collaborated to distribute funds that will provide approximately 200?225 households with homeless prevention assistance and 50?75 households with rapid re-housing assistance.
As the CoC chair, Kissinger-Rothi envisioned and developed the Navigator Agreement for Kalamazoo County’s 26 member agencies. The Navigator Agreement is an understanding between local partners that works to reduce system-induced barriers and is endorsed by the local Multi-Purpose Collaborative Body. On top of managing programs and uniting partners, Kisinger-Rothi led the Housing Resource Center in the critical shift to permanently house Kalamazoo County residents. Housing Resource Center has converted 35 transitional housing units into permanent supportive housing for families.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority is dedicated to building a thriving and vibrant future for Michigan. MSHDA provides tools and resources to improve people’s lives through programs across the state. These programs assist with housing, build strong neighborhoods, and help create places where people want to live and work. MSHDA’s programs work in four areas: affordable rental housing; supporting homeownership; ending homelessness; and creating vibrant cites and neighborhoods.*
*MSHDA’s loan and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs.
Mary Lou Keenon