United Way's Impact on Housing!


More than 4 million working families spend over half their income on rent or mortgages, leaving them particularly vulnerable to eviction or foreclosure if their income is interrupted. Since COVID-19, the affordable housing issue has been exacerbated. The limited supply of affordable housing stock, coupled with the long waiting lists and confusing application processes, makes it extremely difficult for low-income working families to obtain affordable housing. Reforms to zoning and regulatory laws will help to preserve and expand the supply of good quality, affordable housing units while improved coordination among housing providers will make these units easier to access. Finally, connecting residents with income supports and tax credits, first-time buyer programs, and homeownership counseling will help them to retain and manage the expense of their housing.

At United Way of the Lakeshore, we are proud to fund 5 housing programs in Muskegon & Oceana Counties. To read about these programs and hear from families that have been supported through them, click the tabs below! 


About Community enCompass: 

Community enCompass is the merger of two organizations—Bethany Housing Ministries and Sacred Suds. Under a common vision to make restorative, transformative impact in McLaughlin Neighborhood, these two organizations came together in March of 2008.

The name—Community enCompass—reflects our strong commitment to working WITH our neighbors in mutuality and partnership, while at the same time reflecting the idea that the organization encompasses various programs and partners in its efforts. And, as a bonus double-meaning, the “en” of enCompass stands for Empowering Neighbors. While each organization had to sacrifice a bit of identity and independence, the synergy and streamlined efficiency that has resulted from the merger makes us better equipped to make deep inroads into the vision that is possible!


Eviction Prevention Program: 

The Eviction Prevention Program provides housing stabilization services and rent assistance for tenants facing eviction. The objective is to keep families facing eviction in their homes and prevent a money judgment from being entered on the court record which impacts the families' future housing opportunities and credit. This program allows for an Eviction Prevention Specialist to work with households to determine other needs they may be experiencing and connect them to local resources.

Program Impact Story: 

The Eviction Prevention Program has been a much-needed gem to the city of Muskegon. This program has allowed families the relief of stable housing - allowing children to remain in close proximity to their school and friends. Parents have been able to provide shelter and food through this program. Families who have come through this program are often faced with difficult decisions such as paying rent or buying groceries to feed their families after they have incurred unexpected expenses or loss of income. Jennifer Hollins is a recipient of the Eviction Prevention Program. She is a single mother of three boys. Jennifer faced eviction during the month of May of this year. She was working while going to school to finish training in the medical field when she lost her job. Jennifer was nearly finished with her schooling and would be able to better provide for her children within her new profession but the loss of work and possible eviction threatened Jennifer’s opportunity for advancement. As Jennifer entered the EPP program she was presented with a new work offer that was in her field of study and worked with her school schedule, things were looking up! Due to Jennifer’s lack of income and with the start of new employment Jennifer was eligible for the MSHDA “Emergency Shelter Grant,” ESG funds.

This grant helped Jennifer become current with her rent! Jennifer has informed us that the EPP program has allowed her to be able to spend more time with her children without worrying about how she will provide a roof over their heads. She was able to complete her program and obtain full-time work! Jennifer’s Landlord, Choice Property Management has informed me that Jennifer has a credit of almost $300.00 on her account! Jennifer hopes to own her own home one day and the EPP program has helped her become one step closer to that dream by affording her the opportunity to pay rental arrears without incurring a judgment on her credit. Stories like Jennifer’s offer us hope that we are moving in a positive direction in cultivating and rebuilding our community. While there are many successes in EPP there are others that aren’t so successful. MSHDA funds have very specific guidelines that we must adhere to. Unfortunately, most of the families who come through EPP aren’t eligible to receive those funds. We have been successful in keeping most families housed with the efforts of other community organizations such as DHHS, MOCAP, and Love Inc - along with the tenant’s financial contribution. Landlords play a huge role in the success of EPP by extending the time after the date of the judgment to allow tenants to locate funds within the Community. This is a temporary way to fund EPP as organizations run out of money. The solution is to find ways to fund arrears contribution for EPP internally as well as outside organizations. Currently, we are using some “Emergency Food and Shelter Grants,” EFSP to help with one month’s rent in the EPP but funds will dwindle quickly as all of CenC are able to request funds from the EFSP money source. Without a steady source of yearly funds solely designated for the EPP, the program may lose its momentum. The EPP is a much-needed program in Muskegon, it has been proven a life-changer in the lives of those who have benefited, both landlords and tenants. Tenants are able to stay in their home judgment-free and landlords are able to recoup rental arrears without having to garnish wages or spend more money advertising for new tenants. It is truly a root in the thriving of our community.

Housing First Program: 

Our target population is people in Muskegon County experiencing homelessness who without housing stabilization case management and affordable rent will likely remain homeless, prioritizing people with disabilities who have been homeless for a long time, veterans, and families.

Program Story: 

Dwelling Place Tenant - Marie (name changed for privacy) was beaten by her husband at their Newaygo County home. Years of violence culminated in her daylong torture that left her within an inch of her life. Marie's husband Steve accused her of having an affair. He tied her up, beat her with a broom handle. “He was going to cut my fingers off so they couldn’t identify me,” she said. She was able to escape later in the day to a nearby gas station as they were driving with her hands still bound. The brutal beating was a final act of violence after years of abuse that left her unrecognizable.

“It’s — I’m unrecognizable. Like, people don`t believe that that’s actually me. And when I look at those pictures I go back to that day and think about the what-ifs,” she said. “What if this had happened what if that hadn`t happened. What would have happened if I hadn`t gotten out of the car.”

Her husband was sentenced to nearly three decades in prison for the attack. Today, Marie is using that day and so many others like it to help people going through the same thing.

“It was a huge turning point for me. Over the last nine years, I have become more comfortable with myself, I’m no longer codependent,” Marie said. She has spoken to some high school classes about the signs of abuse and used her Facebook and YouTube channels to do the same. “Comment if you need help, I`ll go comment back,” she said. She has directly connected with others to help them see the signs themselves. “I want to do more advocating for domestic violence as far as getting it out there it is a big social problem, so it does need to be dealt with and faced instead of behind closed doors,” Marie said.

She says she will keep fighting like she did that day, and wants others to know they should do the same before it gets this far. “Love is just an emotion. We’re not always smart with our love. And sometimes love can make us overlook the bad that someone’s doing,” she said. “The hard reality is that you can`t change somebody if they don’t want to change.” “I was a victim but now I'm a survivor,” Marie said. “And I know I can pretty much get through anything and hopefully make a difference in somebody’s life.” Marie, a tenant at Dwelling Place, is working with our Family Support Liaison to organize an event for the residents at Dwelling Place to bring awareness of domestic violence. Because her housing is affordable, her struggle with facing homelessness after serving domestic violence is over and she has the strength and courage to share her story and inspire others.


About Every Woman's Place: 

Mission Statement

The mission of Every Woman’s Place is to strengthen lives in the community by providing shelter, counseling, and advocacy primarily for those affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Vision Statement

Every Woman’s Place has been a place of hope, safety, and healing for over 40 years. Every Woman’s Place will continue to offer comprehensive and culturally sensitive residential and non-residential services.

EWP will be an agency that offers a safe, welcoming, modernized location for staff and clients while becoming an employer of choice.  Staff is valued and appreciated which encourages staff satisfaction and morale.  The organization is aware of the high level of stress and burnout and addresses these proactively.

EWP will be recognized in the community by its strong mission, vision, and ability to quantify service outcomes. The agency has strong relationships with community leaders, funders, community-based organizations, and stakeholders. EWP has a diverse funding structure, providing stability to serve the community.

Housing First - Muskegon

Every Woman's Place, Inc. (EWP) provides housing advocacy and resource identification for individuals residing in Muskegon County that participate in our Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program.

Program Impact Story: From A Family Served.

"The (PSH) program helped us overcome homelessness and gave us some stability. We weren’t able to live a healthy lifestyle or have a home-cooked meal when we were living in the car, but we have the ability to now. It has given my mom the opportunity to work on not only her physical health but her mental health as well. For me, it’s allowed me to focus on school more and because of that I have received multiple scholarships and am attending MCC for free."

Safe Shelter - Muskegon

Every Woman's Place (EWP) provides safe shelter for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human sex trafficking in a supportive environment.

Program Impact Story: 

A client came to EWP seeking shelter for her and her two small children after she had left her abusive husband. Upon entering the shelter, the client had very few personal items. Our agency not only provided her with food and shelter but also assisted her with clothing and other needs that she had for herself and her children. Shortly after she entered the shelter, the client demonstrated an eagerness to get back on her feet and worked with our residential victim advocate to begin taking steps toward independence. The client requested assistance with getting a PPO against her abuser. Our staff was able to connect her with a legal advocate who assisted her in this process and was able to help her get it granted and served to her abuser.

Upon entering the shelter, the client indicated that she had been previously turned down by Legal Aide when she had sought legal guidance on filing for divorce and working through potential custody issues without jeopardizing the safety of herself and her children. Our staff was able to utilize our existing relationship with Legal Aide to get them to take on her case and provide her with the legal assistance she would otherwise not be able to afford.

While in the shelter, the client also worked regularly with our DV/SA therapist and continues to have ongoing counseling sessions with the therapist following the client’s discharge from the shelter. The client already had the certification necessary to work as a CNA and while in the shelter, did obtain two different jobs in the medical field. Every day while she was in the shelter she would get up early in the morning, get her children ready and help out around the shelter before heading out and trying to accomplish something positive each day. Even after being turned down on a couple of housing applications, the client continued to work diligently to improve her situation. Once the client was provided with a safe place to live and ongoing support, she was able to focus on the steps she felt she needed to take to regain a sense of independence and stability. The client was able to secure full-time employment, trusted daycare and stable housing with the help and support of EWP staff and she was able to exit our program successfully.

About the Oceana Home Partnership: 

Homeless services include emergency shelter services, limited rental assistance, and ongoing supportive services to assist you in finding a safe and decent place to call home.  We can assist with completing housing applications, answering questions regarding tenant rights and landlord/tenant issues, as well as support you in completing additional goals geared towards your housing needs. 

Homeless Prevention services are available to households who are behind on rent, facing eviction, or are doubled up with a friend or family member. Eviction prevention assistance may be provided to clients who have a court-ordered eviction. If you are facing an eviction or think you may be facing eviction, please review the eviction timeline provided by Michigan State University so that you understand how the eviction process works.  Our knowledgeable staff is here to help you understand your options. 

If you have not received a court-ordered eviction but are behind on your rent, then a positive solution may be to talk to your landlord about a re-payment agreement that would outline a plan for becoming current on your rental payments. Re-payment agreements act as an extension of the lease and must be in writing in order to be an effective tool in catching up your rent. See our sample re-payment agreement and our blank re-payment agreement for information to include in your agreement.  If you have questions regarding re-payment agreements please contact our office. For additional assistance, our counselors will sit down with you to create a re-payment agreement that works with your budget.

Barnett Station

Barnett Station Village Apartments (BSVA) is a supportive housing development located in Shelby that contains 32 units of subsidized housing for households that are homeless, disabled, or survivors of domestic violence. OCHCNC will provide support to residents to enable them to be stably housed.

Program Impact Story: 

Three years ago, Irene (name changed to protect identity) was living in her car with her two children because she was fleeing from a domestic violence situation. She had a history of past trauma that made it especially difficult to navigate the challenging situation that she was in. She had an open CPS case and was worried about losing her children. We were able to get her approved for a supportive housing unit at BSVA, and we connected her to COVE, our local domestic violence support agency who was able to provide Irene with support and safety planning in their new home. Irene worked together with our case manager to identify her strengths and to build a goal plan that would help her work toward providing a stable home for herself and her children. Through one-on-one budgeting, connecting to the local Community Mental Health, maintaining her services with COVE, and building her skills as a successful tenant, Irene was able to close her CPS case. She has since found employment and has maintained her apartment successfully. Irene has worked incredibly hard and even with difficult bumps along the way, she has been able to provide a stable home for her children. She has remained in her unit for the last three years and no longer requires supportive services from OHP to maintain her stability!