ADVOCACY AT OZONE HOUSE
Ozone House advocates at the local, state, and federal level for policies and budgets that improve the lives of young people experiencing homelessness and other types of crisis.
Join us for upcoming virtual lobby days to join staff, volunteers and young people as we meet with our state representatives and legislators:
March 16th with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness
Elected Officials Must Protect Transgender Youth
Members of the Michigan Senate led by Senator Theis introduced a new bill that will discriminate against transgender students. This harmful bill will only increase the stigma that transgender young people already experience. At Ozone House, we know that young people thrive when they experience safety, love, and are celebrated for who they are. Perceived rejection is a strong predictor of negative health outcomes for LGBTQ+ youth.
Gay and transgender teens who were highly rejected by their parents and caregivers were at very high risk for health and mental health problems when they become young adults (ages 21-25).”
Highly rejected young people were:
- More than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide
- Nearly 6 times as likely to report high levels of depression
- More than 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs, and
- More than 3 times as likely to be at high risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases compared with gay and transgender young adults who were not at all or only rejected a little by their parents and caregivers – because of their gay or transgender identity.
Ozone House is here to protect trans youth.
We are calling on our elected officials to create policies that protect transgender students instead of discriminating against them.
Ask Senator Theis to withdraw SB 218 today!
Now is the time to end LGBTQ+ discrimination in Michigan
In Michigan right now, it is legal for an employer to fire an employee and for a landlord to deny housing or evict someone if they even suspect that person identifies as LGBTQ+. There are currently zero protections against this discrimination for LGBTQ+ people, including our youth. LGBTQ+ and youth-focused organizations across the state have seen an increase in requests for help due to housing and employment discrimination, being denied access to basic services and bullying in schools. Our LGBTQ+ young people deserve safety, security, and opportunity for employment and housing. Today, Michigan lawmakers re-introduced a bill to amend our state-wide civil rights act, Elliott-Larsen, to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. This bill would ensure that each and every LGBTQ+ person in Michigan is protected from discrimination and harassment while applying for a job or looking for a home. Please show you support for this effort by telling the legislature to quickly move forward to add these protections for our LGBTQ+ friends, family and neighbors in Michigan.
Ask them to support Senate Bill 208 and House Bill 4297 today!
Michigan renters and landlords need your support NOW
From our partners at the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness:
The Michigan Legislature continues to put our communities at risk by holding back a large portion of the over $620 million in emergency rental assistance sent to our state from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The most recent plan allocates about a third ($282.5 million for rental assistance and administrative costs) of the amount dedicated to rental and utilities assistance. Their plan is to appropriate the remainder of the funds at a later time so that they can have more oversight over how federal dollars are spent. These delays are putting at risk our ability to spend the funding before the September 30 deadline to obligate 65% of our funds before the federal government will recapture any remaining amount.
The legislature may take up these bills TODAY, so we need you to contact your Representative and Senator immediately to let them know that we need the full funding for rental assistance now so we can best serve those facing evictions.
USE THESE TALKING POINTS WHEN CALLING OR EMAILING YOUR MICHIGAN REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR
- Michigan renters and landlords need your support NOW. The Consolidated Appropriations Act allocated over $620 million for the state of Michigan to use in rental and utilities assistance. We've been waiting for almost two months to access those funds. Our waiting lists are already growing with households and landlords needing that support.
- Insert your own data about wait lists or any other indicator of needs for rental and utilities assistance
- Renters AND landlords are being unnecessarily harmed. It's not just renters who are hurting right now and being served by emergency rental assistance. Landlords are hurting too. EDP funds directly supported landlords struggling to pay their own bills. Not allocating the full federal amount needlessly puts them at risk of falling behind on their own payments.
- Insert your own landlord testimonials
- Every delayed day is putting federal money at risk. Congress is requiring that 65% of this original grant be obligated by September 30, 2021, at such time the federal government will recapture any excess funds that are unobligated. Time is of the essence. In order to reach this 65% threshold deadline, Michigan will have to obligate over $60 million each month if the program started today! Every day wasted could literally cost our state millions of dollars.
- Appropriating the funding in waves creates burdensome bureaucracy. MSHDA administers the grants with local homeless service providers to run the CERA program. If the funds are not allocated all at once, MSHDA will have to extend grants each time a new disbursement is made available. This creates additional administrative burden and costs for MSHDA. Extending local contracts for each disbursement also creates uncertainty for providers who are increasing capacity and building programming to meet the challenges of spending this money quickly and serving this many households. Agencies are hiring staff who need confidence that they have job security for more than just the next several months.
- Urge House and Senate leaders to increase state funding in the MDHHS budget for runaway and homeless youth programs, by $6 million, as a step towards rebuilding service access statewide, as well as continuing recent small increases.
- Urge all leaders to enact a FY21 supplemental budget immediately that appropriates the full amount of federal rental assistance funding.
We do not do this vital work alone, but partner with other non-profits and advocacy groups to ensure that young people have a seat at the table to shape the systems that impact their lives. See our full list of partners here.