WHAT IS A CHAMPION?
We all know someone who is a Champion. Someone who has gone above and beyond. Who works the extra hours and won’t sleep until the job is done. Who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Who believes that we can end homelessness in Michigan, and is willing to fight for it.
There are over 650 organizations across Michigan that work to prevent and end homelessness. There are countless more that provided wrap around services, advocate, or assist with housing opportunities in our communities. Each one of these believe – really believe – that we can make a difference in the lives of individuals and families who walk through their doors. And each of these organizations is made up of amazing employees or volunteers who are, in their own ways, champions.
Each year at our Breakfast of Champions we are honored to recognize the contributions made by all of these amazing individuals, and to celebrate four individuals who deserve the title of Champion. Our Champions last year included passionate employees who personally touched the lives of hundreds of individuals struggling to stay in their homes or find housing for their families, a volunteer who created a new program to provide medical care to the most vulnerable unsheltered individuals, and a state official who passed legislation for free State IDs for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Maybe this year we’ll celebrate someone in your community making a difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. But only if YOU nominate them. The deadline to submit your nomination is February 7, so send in your nomination today.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE?
In 2018 the count of those experiencing homelessness in Michigan went up for the first time in several years. We’re seeing alarming trends with increases in families with children and seniors who experienced homelessnesss. We continue to see deep-rooted racial disparities and a lack of proper investments from state and federal resources. Leadership at the highest levels is turning their backs on evidence-based, proven methods to ending homelessness. MCAH receives comments nearly daily from folks who have been hurt by the system and are calling for solutions – real solutions that they can measure and feel – to make housing accessible to them.
It’s enough to weigh down the most optimistic among us.
Which is why we stop each Spring to say “you’ve got this!” It’s our chance to see the folks who show up every day and invest their energy into making life better for those around them. Many of the Champions in our room this day have been personally touched by homelessness and have chosen to give back in the best way they know how. Others have dedicated their entire careers to this cause. But we’re all in that room because we care, and we need to know that others are in this with us.
So, we take a few hours to stop and acknowledge your work. All of you, because we’re in this together.
BUT WE DON’T STOP THERE
Because there’s still work to do. We bring in leading experts to educate us and motivate us and move us forward. Experts who encourage us to listen – really listen – to those who have personally experienced homelessness. Researchers who illustrate with data and personal stories the impact that housing instability is having on our youth. Professionals who have served across the country and have seen the good and the bad when it comes to how we’re working to address this housing crisis.
Michigan is making progress, but we can do more. We have to be innovative and conscientious as we take on new challenges while never forgetting the people we serve. Come learn from your neighbor about initiatives happening in our state and about how you can get involved in advocating for better policies and more resources at the federal and state level.
You’re invited to the 7th annual Breakfast of Champions on May 28 in Lansing. Join us to celebrate, to learn, and to commit to moving the needle even further in 2020.
We’ll see you there!
By Laurel Burchfield, MCAH Manager of Marketing, Growth, and Development. You can contact her at: email@example.com.