During these difficult times, we know Muskegon County is strong. We know this from the ways we pulled together in the past to get through wars, economic downturns, and so much more. We see it in our current challenge in facing COVID-19 today. We are facing uncertainty, and we need to find a way forward.
We know Muskegon County is resilient, innovative, and willing to come together to solve difficult issues. We recently saw hundreds of community members from diverse sectors and backgrounds come together for the Livability Lab. We worked together to identify the community conditions and areas of livability that are most important to us.
We can come together again to identify and address our current needs. Livability in the midst of a crisis becomes acute, but still applies. Our immediate concerns fall across the areas identified by our community: Health, Economics/Jobs, Safety & Security, Education, Social Connection & Trust. What shifts within those areas are priorities for taking action, adjusted to match our current concerns.
There are many organizations out there working to help alleviate the issues that families, individuals, businesses, and other groups are experiencing. It would be helpful now to hear from the many residents of Muskegon County to provide valuable information to those organizations. Focus can then be put on the areas of greatest concern to us. We also need to feel connected to each other, especially in times of physical isolation.
You did it before - hundreds of surveys and feedback built the original framework for Livability Lab. Let's do it again, and fill the framework with the information needed to take action now.
Please click here to take this short survey about your greatest concerns (such as health, shutdown of services/work/schools, social distancing, etc.) due to the effects of COVID-19/Coronavirus. This information, when compiled, will help give direction for community action areas.
We are reaching out to our cross-sector partners and core leadership team for updated information. We'll make use of the communication structure created for Livability Lab to share vital information to the community, and we'll compile the survey responses from all of you to share with them.
Some organizations have already provided information that might be helpful to you. We are including them on this website for easy access. We will continue to add these resource links as we gather and share the information from our community partners in the days and weeks to come.
We also want to take a moment to acknowledge the meaningful work done during the recent 100-Day Challenge. Many of the dedicated teams plan to continue (see team list here). There may be a pause in the momentum as we prioritize immediate needs, but the positive change these teams bring to our community is important and long-lasting. See the infographic further down this page to learn more about the community response to Livability Lab. It's a good and welcome reminder of the strength of Muskegon County, and what we can accomplish when we work together.
We are grateful for this community
The Ladder Community Center – Shelby, MI
View website for adult and student meal assistance.
AgeWell Services Muskegon
Senior food assistance.
Catholic Charities of West Michigan
Visit website for pantry locations.
Salvation Army Muskegon
Food pantry services still available.
Mission for Area People
Food Pantry. Curbside Pickup.
Muskegon Housing Commission
Offering virtual services
Muskegon Men's Rescue Mission
400 W. Laketon Ave
Muskegon, MI 49441
Muskegon Women's Rescue Mission
1715 Peck St
Muskegon, MI 49441
2160 Crozier Ave
Muskegon, MI 49441
File for Unemployment
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Small business relief program.
Muskegon-Oceana Community Action Partnership (MOCAP)
Offering services virtually. Financial assistance programs.
West Michigan Works!
Offering virtual services only. Employment needs.
Goodwill Career Center
271 E. Apple Ave.
Muskegon, MI 49442
Mercy Health Muskegon
Emergency and Medical Services.
HealthWest Muskegon County
Providing essential behavioral health and substance use services.
Call before visiting HealthWest: 231-724-1111
24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Line: 231-722-HELP (4357)
Health Project Hub (formerly Pathways to Better Health)
Virtual and essential services.
Life Circles PACE Muskegon
Transportation for medical appointments and limited home visits.
Health Care Coverage
Disability Network West Michigan
Offering phone and email services.
Disaster Distress Helpline
Crisis counseling and emotional distress helpline.
Text: TalkWithUs to 66746
Public Health Muskegon County
Stay informed on the latest Covid-19 news related to Muskegon County.
Every Woman's Place
Walk-ins available by appointment. Still offering essential services.
Phone for an appointment: (231) 468-6060 Crisis Line: (231) 722-3333
Links coming soon
Legal Aid of West Michigan
450 Morris Ave
Muskegon, MI 49440
A fundamental goal of a Community Health Innovation Region is the engagement of all sectors of a community to identify ways to improve local health and well-being. A unique highlight of this effort in Muskegon County has been the Livability Lab: Muskegon's 100-day Challenge. Now that the teams are finished with their aggressive 100-day process, we thought you might like to learn a little more how this exciting initiative came to be.
Planning and implementing the Lab required many months of work. Led locally by an eight-member Design Team the first objective of the team was to create a vision that would frame the work of the Lab. Using community-based information gathered through local surveys, focus groups, presentations, and community feedback, a vision evolved that would subsequently frame all of the work of Challenge: Creating a system that ensures livability for all Muskegon County residents. Community feedback was a critical part of this planning as the vision needed to be one that all community members could embrace and where they could see a role for themselves.
This then, was an audacious goal. While the 100-day Challenge model has been used in other cities and regions across the nation, such a broad and inclusive vision has never been attempted. Other communities would typically tackle a certain sector or one specific issue, such as a focus on high school graduation rates. But, not us. We were going to acknowledge the big, interconnected picture - all things needed for optimum livability. Muskegon County has, is, and always will be bold, willing to take risks, and ready to do things differently.
Would it work? The Design Team next sought additional input and support. To be inclusive requires the engagement of many diverse partners and voices from throughout the community. This part of the process began with the engagement of a cross-sector advisory group for the Labwe call the Core Team. Representing key leaders from throughout the county, the Core Team not only provided advisory support but also mobilized endorsement from Muskegon County businesses, government, neighborhoods and numerous health, education, and human service organizations.
Resident engagement, fundamental to the Lab’s success, continued. Building off the earlier CHIR success of the South Heights Photovoice Initiative and other neighborhood development efforts, residents were engaged through aggressive team-based outreach. From Muskegon Heights to Montague; North Muskegon to Ravenna, Design Team staff and members of the CHIR Board targeted every possible venue from church congregations to senior nutrition sites and area media to get the word out.
And finally, to create the structure necessary for what would ultimately support 19 separate Challenge Teams, local Coaches were recruited to help. Many dedicated individuals signed on to serve as Coaches for Labteams when approached. These Coaches were subsequently trained with the help of our partners at Michigan State University, and are now helping to guide our Challenge Teams through the decision-making process.
All of this extensive work paid off when September 10 finally arrived. The Livability Lab launch was at maximum capacity, with 340 people in attendance. Over 150 of these individuals subsequently stepped forward to participate in our 19 Challenge Teams. This number was unprecedented, and showed that Muskegon County was already there - ready to take bold steps forward, build off the existing energy and momentum, and accelerate it all to do something amazing together.
Visitors from the State of Michigan’s SIM (State Innovation Model) team were also in attendance, and the buzz about Muskegon made its way back to Lansing. To share both statewide and beyond the good work of Livability Lab, a film crew from Public Sector Consultants in Lansing is now in the process of creating a short documentary highlighting our Challenge Teams and telling the Muskegon. At the January 23rd Challenge Celebration event, the attendees (another full house) got a chance for a sneak peek of the documentary in the making, and were invited to the stage to talk on camera to possibly be included in the final film.
Also announced, Livability Lab 2.0. Save the Date, September 17, 2020.
One thing is for sure, we can all be very proud of the groundbreaking work we are doing together. It's innovative, it's different, it's inclusive, it's important, and for those reasons and more, it's getting good attention. Let's show them how it's done, Muskegon.
Attendees at the Livability Lab launch viewed the photographs and stories presented in this compelling exhibition. View the exhibition booklet, with photos and stories, here:
The United Way of the Lakeshore, Mercy Health Muskegon, the Community Health Innovation Region (CHIR) and many others convened a 100-Day Challenge Summit, the Livability Lab, on September 10, 2019 to bring together individuals and groups from every sector throughout our county to mobilize around a common vision of livability.
The CHIR has chosen to focus the 100-Day Challenge process on creating a system where all Muskegon County residents have access to good health and well-being; and, that our community will not only thrive, but that all residents and families will have the opportunity to individually prosper and reach their full potential.
Save the date for Livability Lab 2.0 on September 17, 2020!.
Livability (noun): Livability is the sum of the factors that add up to a community’s quality of life—including the built and natural environments, economic prosperity, social stability and cohesion, healthcare, educational opportunity, and cultural, entertainment and recreation possibilities.
Additional information about the Muskegon Community Health Innovation Region (CHIR) can be found at https://michirlearning.org
Logos above represent a partial list of leaders working together in this initiative. Participants from diverse sectors including business, education, neighborhood associations, government, non-profit, and more.