About the WHA
About the WHA
Our Mission: The mission of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance is to end homelessness in our community.
The Washtenaw Housing Alliance is a unique coalition of over 30 non-profit and government entities that are committed to ending homelessness in our community. The WHA facilitates, encourages, and monitors this work by providing training and technical assistance to providers to support innovation and best practices, advocating for the needs of people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness, and supporting the development of more permanently affordable housing.
WHA members joined together in 2004 with the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County to create "A Home for Everyone: The Blueprint to End Homelessness," our vision of what it will take to end homelessness in Washtenaw County. The WHA's work focuses on the primary goals of The Blueprint: More Housing with Services, Reforming the System of Care, and Engaging the Community.
Our Vision: Every person who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will be provided with alternatives for shelter, housing and services, including those who are vulnerable and difficult to serve.
Our Guiding Principles
Respect: Members of the Housing Alliance affirm that we respect the individual needs and choices of people who are homeless. We will promote self-determination and autonomy.
Non-Discrimination and Inclusion: Services will be delivered without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, income, culture, religion, ethnicity, height, weight, class, marital status, sexual orientation, family configuration, HIV/AIDS status, physical or developmental disability, ability to speak English, immigrant status, military status, or history of mental illness, and addiction.
Accessibility and Cultural Competence: Services will be designed and delivered in a manner that is accessible and acceptable to people who are disadvantaged or marginalized. We will make positive, affirmative efforts to serve and reach disenfranchised populations, and we will become more culturally competent in order to reach and serve all persons in need.
Multiple Strategies: We affirm that no one strategy can help all individuals and families who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, and we will embrace a multiplicity of ways in which to help them.
Active Outreach: We recognize that innovative, transformative, persistent and long-term efforts are necessary to help persons who are chronically homeless and have been labeled “difficult to reach.” In this spirit, and in the spirit of accessibility, we pledge to go where people who are homeless are, and not to wait passively for them to come to us.
Commitment to Permanent Housing: Our ultimate goal is the development and management of affordable, permanent, and supportive housing. Financial resources must be allocated with this in mind, without jeopardizing funding for essential emergency shelter and transitional housing programs.
Expertise: We recognize that people who are homeless are often the best experts on their own situation and we pledge to include their ideas and expertise in our work.
Advocacy: We affirm that direct services to the homeless will include advocacy, and that the work of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance will include changing institutional policies and practices, training of professionals, policy and legislative change, educating funders, and raising hell when necessary.
Continuous Learning: We know we must always be in the process of learning. We must educate ourselves on the social and economic causes of homelessness and strategies to help individuals and families that are homeless. This includes a commitment to obtain the best training for those who work with people who are homeless.