Dann’s House has now purchased the property where it has been successfully operating for more than five years. The acquisition has allowed the nonprofit to open the other half of the duplex and double its capacity to serve people who need housing with a Harm Reduction approach, and secure the organization’s financial future.
Since Dann’s House opened, not only have the lives of the residents been transformed, but also the way local systems address homelessness and addiction. Under a Harm Reduction model, residents are not expected to stop drinking altogether: abstinence is not required at Dann’s House. The goal is to reduce the harm that is caused by the residents’ disease – harm to themselves, their families and friends, and the community at large. Other organizations have since adopted the philosophy of Harm Reduction, with the result that the region has seen a decrease in chronic homelessness, and an increase in the numbers of people getting help with their Substance Use Disorders.
This past summer, Dann’s House partnered with Northwest Michigan Supportive Housing (NMSH), whose mission is “To provide permanent supportive housing to homeless individuals and families that struggle with mental illness.” (Alcohol Use Disorder is classified as a mental illness and a disability.) NMSH provides federal housing vouchers to help our residents pay their rent, and case managers who help them overcome any barriers related to maintaining and sustaining their housing, such as a need for benefits like Medicaid and Social Security-Disability, and access to help for their physical and mental health. Becca Binder, Executive Director of NMSH, observes, “As rental housing costs continue to increase and NMSH faces a shortage of rental options, this partnership provides an ideal solution. We are thrilled to be partnering with Dann’s House as it is able to provide the rental units and NMSH is able to provide the case management services to support people from returning to homelessness. The missions of NMSH and Dann’s House were already aligned and now allow us the opportunity to pool our resources and meet the needs of this vulnerable population.”
In five years, Dann’s House has served more than 40 men, six to eight at a time, helping them to achieve some stability in their lives. While living at Dann’s House, residents reduce the amount of alcohol they consume by more than 50%. They are attending to their secondary physical and mental health concerns, and repairing relationships with their families. Although this seems like a small number of people who have been saved from the streets, they are people who formerly used a disproportionate amount of publicly funded services like police and ambulances, jail beds and detox units. This has saved the community significant funds over the years.
Purchasing the house has allowed Dann’s House to double the number of men it can accommodate, which will double the already-significant impact on the community. The former property owner has supported the organization’s mission for five years and agreed to sell the house at its appraised value of $205,000.
The purchase was funded with a $195,000 loan from IFF, a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant, and developer that helps communities thrive by creating opportunities for low-income populations and individuals with disabilities. IFF is the largest nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution in the Midwest. Since 1988, IFF has made more than $907 million in loans, leveraging $2.9 billion in community investments. These investments have developed more than 26 million square feet of real estate, and impacted communities by creating more than 6,700 child care slots, 50,000 school seats, 370,000 new patient visits, and 10,700 units of affordable housing.
“This is exactly the type of high-impact community project that IFF loves to support,” says Chris Uhl, IFF’s Executive Director for the Eastern Region. “Nonprofits like Dann’s House play a vital role in our society, but too often they are denied access to the capital they need to create beautiful, modern, mission-driven spaces. Our mission is to change that – and to make sure we align capital with justice.”
Rotary Charities is a place-based foundation that provides funding, connections and learning opportunities to changemakers across Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim counties. Since 1977, Rotary Charities has distributed over $63 million in grants and investments to organizations and non-profits in lower northwest Michigan. The public foundation was formed following the 1976 discovery of oil and natural gas reserves on property owned by the Traverse City Rotary Club. Rotary Charities distributes the interest income generated from the oil and gas royalties to community projects that contribute to a greater good.
Rotary Charities has invested $1.5 million in three community development institutions, including $500,000 with IFF. These investments bring sector expertise and funding into needed projects that drive Charities’ mission of a fair, thriving, and resilient region. Experienced partners like IFF amplify the community impact of every Charities dollar by working alongside nonprofits to access capital, technical assistance, and new connections. The loan to Dann’s House to purchase the facility was the first use of Rotary Charities’ impact investment with IFF.
Sakura Takano of Rotary Charities says: “Dann’s House is an organization meeting a vital need, safe housing, for a disenfranchised population. We applaud their commitment to being part of the solution to make housing available for individuals facing homelessness and substance use disorder.”