Shelter shortage across metro Detroit adds to the rising issue of homelessness

Funding and access to affordable housing to be blamed, says Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries
Posted at 6:22 PM, Jan 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-09 18:36:24-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Homelessness is a rising concern across metro Detroit and what's making it worse is the limited number of shelters available.

Nine-year-old Maleek and 2-year-old Canon's mom, Dominique Stallings, currently are out of options.

"I'm going to get back to normal. I just need a little bit of help," said Stallings.

A few months ago, the 36-year-old became homeless after her apartment's rent went up from $1,000 to $1,400. On top of that, her car has mechanical issues.

"I'm not able to work because I don't have transportation, and another big thing is day care for the kids," said Stallings.

But what makes it worse is that Stallings says she can't get into any shelters.

"I've called 24 shelters and no one has any openings. They are not only in Detroit but also on the outskirts including Pontiac, Sterling Heights. I've been calling these numbers daily for the past two weeks now," said Stallings.

Seeing the family's plight, activists Dwight Harris and Oliver Gantt have paid for the room for the next few days.

"It's shocking. It's like we are living in a third-world country. This is a big problem, especially coming out of the pandemic, where a lot of people are suffering from mental health issues as well," said Harris from Icon 10.

The president of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Chad Audi, says the latest data shows that around 7,000 folks are homeless across metro Detroit, of which 1,100 are kids.

"In Detroit, we have four warming centers — three of them are ours, and one is Cass Community. And for shelters, there are 16, of which we run four of them," said Audi.

Audi says due to high operational costs, many shelters have closed.

"What we need to do is very simple: we need more funding, and we need to be able to place people in affordable housing," said Audi.

The city of Detroit says they've built 2,000 new units of affordable housing over the past several years and extended the affordability on 10,000 apartments.

In an official statement to 7 Action News, the director of the Housing Services Division, David Bowser, wrote:

"We are in daily contact with shelter providers in the city and working with our partners to add hundreds of additional shelter beds to meet the current needs. We recently added 144 new beds and are adding another 230 this month. Anyone experiencing housing insecurity should call the City's Housing Helpline at 866-313-2520."

Meanwhile, Audi says he plans to introduce two more shelters and a warming center in partnership with the city.

To learn more, visit For additional housing resources in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck, call 313-305-031.