Delonis Center adding accommodations for displaced Camp Take Notice residents
Downtown Ann Arbor's homeless shelter is preparing for the scheduled June 22 shutdown of Camp Take Notice by temporarily adding beds.
The Delonis Center, 312 W. Huron St., will open its doors to up to 50 additional people in order to accommodate displaced campers transitioning from the outdoor tent city west of Ann Arbor to subsidized housing.
The shelter offers 75 beds on a permanent basis, but will expand to its winter season capacity and staffing levels to accommodate an expected influx following the shutdown of the camp, which according to organizers is currently home to 66 people.
“It’s not going to be possible to get everybody housed (by June 22),” said Julie Steiner, executive director of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance. “The first floor (of the Delonis Center) will be set up how the warming center is set up in the winter for the people that are being worked with to get housing.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation on May 29 ordered residents of Camp Take Notice to leave by June 22 or face possible arrest on trespassing charges.
The notice came in conjunction with the announcement of the MSHDA program, which offers subsidies for up to 40 households. A multi-person dwelling is still considered a single household.
According to John Loring with the Washtenaw County Homeless Project Outreach Team, 31 people have filled out paperwork for the subsidy programs so far.
“A lot of people are signing up as couples, or trying to work out situations to live with other people from camp, so that gives us a little bit of wiggle room moving forward,” Loring said.
Through the MSHDA subsidy program, rent will be provided exclusively to Camp Take Notice residents for up to one year.
Sally Harrison, director of the rental assistance and homeless solutions division of MSHDA, said she’s received plenty of offers from landlords with space hoping to set up a standard beginning of the month move ins.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from local landlords trying to pull it all together, but some may not be ready until July 1,” Harrison said.
The cap for the subsidy is based on the standard of living in the dwelling's location as well as other factors such as how many people reside in the unit. In Ann Arbor, the cap would be approximately $750 for a single bedroom apartment and around $950 for a two-bedroom.
Loring said he anticipates some apartment complexes will be able to accommodate the unorthodox move-in date, even if subsidy money isn't necessarily in the mail at the time.
“They may not have check in hand, but we have a relationship with landlords that we're hoping to be able to leverage,” Loring said. "June 22 is tough, but we're moving forward."
The Delonis Center is receiving funding to assist with the implementation of the subsidy program, and will also provide its other services - such as counseling and case workers - to all Camp Take Notice residents who take advantage of the subsidy program.
Steiner said the Delonis Center is working on budget proposals to operate at its winter capacity year-round, but is not in a position to do so yet. She said the shelter’s warming center is typically open for around six months, depending on the weather.
Delonis officials reported a budget of $80,822 for 30 weeks of operation at winter capacity last year. The homeless center is operated by the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, a partnership of public and private groups.
Some supporters of the camp have criticized the subsidy program as an incomplete and temporary solution.
"My personal opinion is that the money could be better used to purchase a piece of land where we can continue our work," said Brian Durrance, vice president for Michigan Itinerant Shelter System-Interdependent Out of Necessity (MISSION) a non-profit organization that helps support the tent city.