Michigan Movement
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Our Story

We’re made hopeful by optiMize Fellows like Hussain and Payton who listen intentionally and develop thoughtful solutions to improve life in our local community
— Ana Patchin, optiMize President

Volunteering with Detroit based organizations provided Hussain Ali the opportunity to directly help those in need. Creating care packages, volunteering at homeless shelters, and working to revitalize Detroit, inspired Hussain to extend the reach of this impact. 

During his freshman year at U of M, Hussain immediately recognized how apparent, yet overlooked chronic homelessness was in Ann Arbor, a wealthy city with resources, innovative minds, and opportunity. In 2017, he founded the student organization, Michigan Is My Home (MIMH). 

After meeting Payton Watt in general chemistry lab, Hussain and Payton discussed the possibility of making a bigger difference. 

Together they established Michigan Is My Home, a student-run organization that focuses on empowering individuals and families experiencing homelessness through packaging programs, social advocacy, and community engagement.


Within its first 6 months MIMH had become a student organization with a 10-member executive board and 30 member volunteer base. MIMH received grants from U of M Central Student Government, the Ginsberg Center, U of M School of Social Work, U of M Community Action and Social Change, and a $11,000 grant from optiMize. In just one year as an organization, MIMH has raised over $15,000 in grants, fundraising, and donations. 

Michigan Is My Home has become official partners with numerous local agencies and U of M organizations including Alpha House, the Delonis Center, Groundcover News, Intramural Sports, and Mknit. MIMH has also partnered with University of Michigan President, Mark Schlissel's initiative, Poverty Solutions. 

MIMH has been recognized for their work from the Washtenaw Housing Alliance, the U-M Bicentennial, Michigan School of Public Health, and has a featured article on MLive

 Hussain and Payton presenting at the optiMize showcase-2017

Hussain and Payton presenting at the optiMize showcase-2017


Throughout the summer of 2017, Hussain and Payton worked closely with optiMize to continue receiving mentorship and feedback. They used this summer to start a documentary on homelessness in Ann Arbor, hoping to destigmatize issues surrounding homelessness and poverty. This allowed them to extend their reach, impact, and name across the campus and community. 


Revitalization happened over the summer and by the fall of 2017, Michigan Is My Home had a greater effect than ever before. They received over $4,000 in grants over the course of the semester, applied for awards, and distributed upwards of 300 care packages. 

Multiple awards were given to Michigan Is My Home by March 2018, including TEDxUofM, the School of Public Health, and Michigan Difference Student Leadership. 


Rebranding occurred officially throughout the summer months of 2018 to reflect a change in mission, impact, and vision. As students interested in public health and health disparities, Hussain and Payton wanted to make a difference in areas of health and wellness. Thus, Michigan Movement was born.