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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Avalon Housing: A place to call home

By Everett Cook, Managing Sports Editor
Published January 20, 2013

The connection’s between all of these things — housing underpins all of these other things.”

Tax dollars do help pay for some of the social services and support systems for Avalon residents, but in the long run, supportive housing like Avalon makes a lot more sense than the current pay-later model.

It’s not here yet, but Avalon is gaining some of that trust. This year, there was a multi-year grant given out by the Obama Social Innovation Fund to organizations that help or combat frequent users of emergency health care. Four places in the entire country were given this grant: Los Angeles, San Francisco, the state of Connecticut and Washtenaw County.

“It’s because we have a good head start on that and because they like what we do here,” McCabe said. “I think we have a big future ahead of us if we can figure out how to financially sustain ourselves and convince everyone to invest more public dollars in it.”

Want an example of economically sustainable housing working? Go to the tan house and sit on the porch. Listen to Paul tell you about the meningitis he had as a kid, the beatings and robberies he endured in Detroit, the cancer that has appeared, disappeared and reappeared in his intestines and the brain shunt that doctors put in his skull to drain excess fluid.

Watch him tell you all of this with a smile on his face, cracking jokes about the things that almost killed him. He can joke because he was given the opportunity to joke, moreover, given the right to joke on his regular-looking porch attached to the tan house.

He can joke because Avalon gave him a chance.