Marquette non-profits combat homelessness in the U.P.

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 6:01 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - In 2019, the number of people without a home in the U.P. made up three percent of Michigan’s homeless population.

According to Room at the Inn Executive Director, Nicholas Emmendorfer, that’s down from 2018 when it was made up of five percent of the homeless population.

“The important thing to remember,” Emmendorfer said. “That in the eyes of the Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness, the Upper Peninsula is region one.”

The Room at the Inn is a shelter for people who do not have any other options for a place to live. The main objective is to use the shelter as a stepping stone and not a permanent home.

“From the second somebody steps in to the shelter, for the entire period that they remain in the shelter, the focus from our staff and volunteers and the guest have to be ‘You are here to work on a housing plan.’”

So far, that method has been effective.

“In 2020, 122 different individuals utilized Room at the Inn,” Emmendorfer said. “We currently have 30 people staying at the shelter so that’s some good news.”

Once people leave the shelter, the next step is to find safe, affordable housing through organizations like Superior Housing Solutions where Ryan Redmond is the executive director.

“We do street outreach, recovering coaching, supportive housing, recovery housing and we deploy a workforce development program to put our individuals to work,” Redmond said.

The importance of these programs could be a matter of life and death.

“Larry got COVID-19 and was in the hospital,” Redmond said. “The hospital wouldn’t release Larry because he didn’t have his own place to stay. Unfortunately, Larry passed in the hospital and permanent support of housing was the answer for Larry.”

Anyone in need of housing assistance can visit the Superior Housing Solutions website.

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