Community Update and Resources for the Unhoused

November 22, 2023

Community Update and Resources for the Unhoused

The Pines, an area within Traverse City, is currently home to a homeless encampment, a situation that demands on-going attention and collaboration with the City of Traverse City’s partners. Ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone in the community is paramount, especially considering the imminent dangers of staying outdoors during the harsh winter months.

Traverse City Fire Chief Tuller stated, “As the days and nights become colder and wetter, the danger for living outdoors without adequate protection from the elements increases. Without access to appropriate heating sources, improvised heating methods, such as open flames, portable stoves, or malfunctioning heaters, can lead to fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, or severe burns. These hazards not only endanger the individual but also pose a threat to surrounding areas and others nearby.” Tuller continues, “Staying outdoors in a cold temperature environment for an extended period of time without adequate shelter or clothing can pose severe risks to one’s health, leading to life-threatening conditions such as hypothermia. This condition can develop when an individual is exposed to low temperatures for prolonged periods. The body can lose heat rapidly, causing core temperature to drop to dangerous levels. We strongly encourage those in need to seek shelter resources.”

The City has actively engaged with local partners such as Northwest Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness, Goodwill Northern Michigan, and Safe Harbor to address homelessness in Traverse City. Most recently, the City has worked closely with the NW Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness to address short and long term solutions to housing goals for the unhoused population. Moreover, efforts are underway in collaboration with Grand Traverse County, the NW MI Coalition to End Homelessness, and local philanthropic organizations to secure funding and explore the viability of establishing a year-round shelter specifically catering to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

“There is a collaborative response to the complex issue of homelessness in our community through the partners of the Northwest Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness. The Coalition is focused on making  homelessness rare, brief and one-time through coordinated and targeted efforts focused on ending homelessness," stated Ashley Halladay-Schmandt, NW Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness Director.

The City has adopted Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) programs to provide affordable and permanent supportive housing. A PILOT agreement for Annika Place II, 1020 Hastings Street, was approved with Woda Cooper Company, who will work with Goodwill Northern Michigan to provide 19 units for the chronically homeless. This week, the City Commission approved a PILOT arrangement for East Bay Flats, located at 440 Munson Avenue, from Goodwill Northern Michigan. The project would consist of 67 affordable housing units, 51 single bedroom units, and 16 efficiency units for permanent supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness and affordable housing for those earning less than 60% of area median income.

“Amidst our ongoing collaboration with partners to tackle the multifaceted challenges of homelessness in the greater Traverse City community, it's vital to highlight the available resources for those without shelter, particularly as winter approaches," emphasized Interim City Manager Nate Geinzer. "Recognizing the immense hardships faced by individuals experiencing homelessness, it's imperative to unite in empathy and support through collective action. Collaborative efforts enable us to pool resources for a more significant impact. By working together as a unified team and region, we amplify our impact, preserving crucial financial and human resources and, most significantly, safeguarding human lives."

In 2022, the Traverse City Police Department hired a Police Social Worker Coordinator, Jennifer Holm, who now facilitates a Quick Response Team, which has built relationships with 42 community partners to support individuals experiencing crises related to homelessness, substance use and mental health, and provides overdose response. The Homeless Response System is a coordinated effort to provide and not duplicate resources for housing. The Basic Needs Coalition provides items in coordinated ways for distribution to individuals experiencing homelessness. We encourage people to seek the supports that are available in the community and work together to provide for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

"We recognize the challenging and precarious conditions faced by unhoused individuals in The Pines area. The Traverse City Police Department remains dedicated to prioritizing the safety and welfare of every community member, including both our unhoused population and law enforcement personnel. Our Police Social Worker has been actively fostering connections with the homeless, contributing to ongoing collaborative efforts aimed at addressing safety concerns. Together, we are committed to creating a safer environment for all involved,” state Traverse City Police Chief Matt Richmond.

Get Involved

  • Get Involved: Advocacy is critical to creating the systemic changes needed to end homelessness,
  • Donate Items: The Basic Needs Coalition, a resource for donations through a group of agencies who focus on basic items and resources (gloves, boots, coats, food, tents) to collect and distribute to individuals experiencing homelessness in coordinated ways.
  • Donate Money: The work to end homelessness requires funding and support outside of our grant opportunities.

Shelter Resources

  • Central Housing Intake, (844) 900-0500
  • NMCAA (NW Michigan Community Action Agency)/HARA, 3963 Three Mile Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686, 1 (844) 900-0500
  • Goodwill Inn, 2943 N Keystone Rd. Traverse City, MI 49686, (231) 922-4890
  • Oasis (Cadillac), 118 S. Mitchell St. Cadillac, MI 49601, (231) 775-7233
  • Pete’s Place/Third Level Street Outreach Services, 2943 N Keystone Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686, (231) 922-4800 or 1 (800) 442-7315
  • Safe Harbor, 517 Wellington St. Traverse City, MI 49686, (November 1 - April 30 only)
  • Women’s Resource Center, 720 S Elmwood Ave, Traverse City, MI 49684, (231) 941-1210 

Thanksgiving Meals: November 22, 2023

  • T.C. Queen Bees will present a free hot meal from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Traverse City Church of the Nazarene, 1023 S. Division. Eat in or take out.
  • Dine in or take home from noon to 2 p.m. at Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church, 16426 Center Road, (231) 223-4393.
  • A community meal will be served from 1 to 3 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church and School, 1003 S. Maple St., Griffin St. For delivery or to volunteer, (231) 360-7608.

Additional Resources

  • Homeless Response System, a coordinated effort that provides a unified response to homelessness and is the single path to engaging with multiple homeless services in the area. Individuals can call 844-900-0500 to receive services for diversion, outreach, and ultimately, housing.
  • Safe Harbor Resource Guide,
  • City of Traverse City Community Resource Guide,