Holistic housing: Detroit Healthy Housing Center opens in McDougall Hunt neighborhood

What’s happening: The completion of the second and final phase of the Neighborhood Service Organization’s Healthy Housing Campus was celebrated this past Thursday, Feb. 9. City and state leaders came out in support of the project, cutting the ribbon on the 56-bed, 22,000 sq. ft. Detroit Healthy Housing Center. The facility provides emergency shelter, wraparound health care, and support services for those experiencing homelessness.

The Detroit Healthy Housing Center is located at 3426 Mack Ave. in Detroit.What it is: The Detroit Healthy Housing Center (DHHC) offers low-barrier, emergency shelter with an emphasis on providing health and social services. Located in the McDougall Hunt neighborhood, the DHHC features a 17-bed medical respite program for post-hospitalization and the 360 Neighborhood Wellness Center, which offers primary care, behavioral health, dental services, and a community pharmacy, all of which are open to the public. The Wellness Center is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic operated in partnership with CHASS Center, and the pharmacy is the result of a partnership with Genoa Healthcare.

Why it’s important: “Sixty percent of chronically unhoused people in the Detroit area have underlying mental illnesses or substance abuse issues. The lack of access to high-quality primary and behavioral health care preventive and wellness services adds significant cost to the entire healthcare system,” says Linda Little, Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) president and CEO. “We will relieve stress on the system of care in Detroit by taking a holistic, first-of-its-kind approach to pair access to healthcare with our efforts to end homelessness. Equity is about meeting people where they are to address their needs. Our healthy housing approach is created to do just that.”

Bigger picture: As the second and final phase of the NSO’s Healthy Housing Campus, the DHHC is preceded in the first phase by the Clay Apartments, a two-story, 42-unit affordable housing complex that opened in September 2020. The one-bedroom apartments for single adults are 100 percent occupied and complemented by supportive services; 30 percent of those units are reserved for individuals with complex medical conditions.

How they did it: The NSO’s Healthy Housing Campus is a $22 million development and received support from the Ballmer Group, The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Bollinger Foundation Inc., The Carls Foundation, DMC Foundation, Gregory Terrell, The Kresge Foundation, KLA Foundation, Rocket Community Fund, Metro Health Foundation, and Total Health Care Foundation. The City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department also helped fund the campus through $4.1 million in Community Development Block Grants-CARES (CDBG-CV) funds.

What they’re saying: “The McDougall Hunt neighborhood has a rich history in Detroit and has experience dealing with residents with housing needs. We appreciate and recognize the importance of the decision to develop safe, comprehensive, stable housing accompanied by holistic wraparound services to a community that needs it most,” says Duane Ashford of the McDougall-Hunt Neighborhood Association. “The Detroit Healthy Housing Center will bring pivotal change to our city.”

Visit the Neighborhood Service Organization online to learn more about the Healthy Housing Campus and other services offered.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.