Saint Joseph Mercy Health System pledges $1 million to help fight homelessness in Washtenaw County

ANN ARBOR, MI — The Saint Joseph Mercy Health System has committed $1 million to support a fund dedicated to ending homelessness in Washtenaw County, the health system announced this week.

The system announced it would support the Sr. Yvonne Gellise Endowment Fund for Permanent Supportive Housing Services, also known as the SYG Fund. The donation was made in honor of Sister Yvonne, the senior advisor on health system governance, as well as in memory of the late Garry Faja, who was a founding member of the SYG fund and the first President and CEO of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

“Like Sister Yvonne and the Sisters of Mercy who founded St. Joe’s, Garry Faja was a very firm believer in the core values ​​that guide our health system’s healing mission, including reverence for the sanctity and dignity of every human being and our responsibility to care for them care most at risk in our community,” said Alonzo Lewis, president of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, in a statement announcing the commitment.

The SYG Fund works with partner organizations to tackle homelessness by tackling fundamental issues that lead to unsafe housing. Funding goes to primary and mental health care, substance abuse counseling, employment or vocational training, and transportation, among other things.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for more permanent supportive housing services in our community to keep people safe and healthy,” Lauren Wisniewski, SYG fund development coordinator, said in a statement. “This foundation continues to grow, providing much-needed funding to agencies that share our mission, at a time when other funding sources have been unable to keep up with growing demand.”

The $1 million donation to the SYG fund is part of approximately $115 million donated by the healthcare system each year.

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