TrueNorth takes over housing crisis assistance as OHP restructures.

November 1, 2019

– TrueNorth photo

TrueNorth takes over housing crisis assistance as OHP restructures.

#OceanaHomePartnership

#TrueNorth

HART – TrueNorth Community Services takes over as the West Michigan Housing Network’s lead agency serving Oceana County effective Friday, Nov. 1, as Oceana’s Home Partnership undergoes a restructuring of services, according to officials from both organizations.

The network coordinates efforts in Mason, Lake, Newaygo – and now Oceana – counties to reduce homelessness and to increase access to affordable housing.

OHP, based in Hart, is a local non-profit that has been serving the area’s housing needs for over 32 years.

“For the last 20 years, we have been meeting our mission to promote and expand housing opportunities for area residents by using a three-tiered approach: providing housing policy advocacy; developing and building both single-family and multi-family housing; and providing direct assistance to individuals and households that are facing a housing crisis or instability,” said OHP Executive Director Kittie Tuinstra.

“Through this restructuring, OHP will continue its housing policy advocacy work and will deepen its focus on increasing housing development, but will no longer be providing direct programs and services to individuals and families,” states a press release.

“There is a tremendous need for additional housing in the area, both for rent and for sale, and at all price points,” said Ken Fisher, president of OHP’s board of directors. “The amount of housing that is available is simply not sufficient to meet the demand. We are feeling the impact of this shortage across all sectors — business, education, services, even local government. Our board believes that we are in a unique position to double-down on our efforts to bring more quality housing options to the communities that we represent, and this restructuring will allow us to give development efforts the attention required. It is an exciting time.”

Services for homeowners facing foreclosure, for first-time home buyers, for renters facing eviction, and for people experiencing homelessness will all be provided by TrueNorth Community Services.

Clients who are already engaged with OHP have received letters providing them with the details and status of their case transition to TrueNorth.

“We have worked alongside TrueNorth for many years, and while it is difficult for us to step out of providing direct assistance to Oceana residents, we know that TrueNorth does an excellent job and that folks will be in good hands,” said Tuinstra.

“Homelessness isn’t always apparent in our community. The reality is when there isn’t a way to make ends meet, some people lose their homes and become homeless,” said Diana Hanna, Housing and Family Services Director for TrueNorth. “We want to help families and individuals find shelter and resources when they’re in need.”

The West Michigan Housing Network adheres to the Housing First model, an approach that aims to quickly and successfully connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing.

TrueNorth’s housing services include intake and referrals for housing and homelessness programs, emergency shelter, rental assistance and access to the housing choice voucher waiting list. Services vary in each of the four counties served by the West Michigan Housing Network based on funding availability.

TrueNorth seeks landlords with rentals to provide safe and affordable housing to families and individuals through its Housing and Family Services programs. To help fill the need and/or learn more, contact Lisa Reinecke at (231) 924-0641, ext. 142, or [email protected] Discover more about Housing and Family Services’ programs online at www.truenorthservices.org/Assistance/Housing-Assistance.

TrueNorth’s new Oceana County site is located at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Oceana County offices, 4081 West Polk Road in Hart. The office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. Anyone facing a housing crisis in Oceana, Lake, Mason and Newaygo counties can call (877) 446-8730 or email [email protected] to set up an appointment.

Help Fund Local News

Please consider helping us keep local news active by sending a PayPal payment.

Legally Speaking: Sentencing Guidelines

I am WSCC