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Chamber Leadership Class Learns About Homelessness in Mason County

Chamber Leadership Class Learns About Homelessness in Mason County

Group Tackles Habitat Renovation Project

The 2024 cohort of Leadership Mason County is spending six months gathering information about homelessness in the local area and taking on a renovation project at a Habitat for Humanity home. Goals of this project include:

  • Investigating the extent and nature of homelessness in the local community
  • Dispelling stereotypes about who is unhoused and why
  • Cataloging services provided as well as gaps in services
  • Creating a report/presentation that could be used for community education and/or grant applications
  • Contributing to the renovation of a Habitat home to provide shelter for an unhoused family

The class of 17 is participating in this program, designed by the Chamber Alliance of Mason County, to equip professionals with leadership skills for business and community efforts. Leadership Mason County offers an extensive platform for emerging and established leaders to refine their leadership acumen and gain insight into evolving trends, challenges, and issues confronting Mason County.  

Each month, participants hear from local panelists who work together to provide services and housing to families in need to uncover more about the unhoused, and gaps that could be addressed to help solve the issue. Some panelists included experts from organizations like True North, J & J Missions of Mason County (formerly Jericho House), Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters (COVE), Hospitality Inc., and Staircase Services, United Way of Mason County/Family Link, Michigan Works West Central, West Michigan Community Mental Health, Lakeshore Food Club, and local school officials who coordinate services for students. 

The Habitat housing project allows the leadership group to put their skills into action, as they collaborate as a team to make a difference for a family who will eventually occupy this Habitat for Humanity home. Some of the jobs they will tackle include general cleanup of the home, tearing up carpet, and painting.

“This project will provide us the opportunity to sell a home to a low-income family at our cost,” said Jamie Healy, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Mason County. “We are grateful to partner with the leadership program on some of the work that needs to be done.  Addressing housing challenges – one home at a time – is a community initiative, and the volunteer work from the leadership group will help us keep our costs down and pay it forward to the new homeowner.”

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