News

Macomb County Winter Shelter set to close after funding shortfall

Posted at 7:01 PM, Feb 29, 2024

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Macomb County Winter Shelter is set to close after Thursday night following a funding shortfall.

The shelter is run out of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Warren by the nonprofit Motor City Mitten Mission. They began running the operation in the winter of 2022.

The nonprofit was set to close the shelter for the season on April 6 but will have to shut its doors sooner after they say the donations they rely on to operate ran out. They’re now working to raise about $30,000 to keep their doors open through the end of the season.

“We’ve spent all the money we had come in and allotted for the shelter and our organization, the Motor City Mitten Mission, has been supplementing the cost of the shelter and at this point if we continue to stay open, our organization will be out of money within a month of shutting the shelter down and our services, our outreach services are just way too important,” MCMM director Gail Marlow said.

Marlow says since Nov. 1, 2023, the shelter has seen 704 people through its doors. She says the need this year is greater than last by a few hundred people.

Thursday, several people were inside the church staying warm and talking to social workers.

“Without this place, I’d be sleeping in front of the church, up under a blanket,” said Michael Hatten, who is a shelter client. “A lot of people really need this, like me. I go to work and I don’t have nowhere to go. A lot of people don’t have family support. I’m one of them.”

Joseph Burks, the operations manager for MCMM, says before he become an employee, he was introduced to the nonprofit when Marlow found him sleeping in his car. He says he became homeless following a breakup from a bad relationship but has since found housing.

Burks says it was devastating to hear the shelter would be closing.

“It was depressing. It kind of put myself back in that situation. What if I were one of the people that depended on staying here? We don’t have enough other places for these people to go,” Burks said.

The organization helps people in need secure housing, employment, substance misuse treatment, necessary documents and much more.

“I know it’s getting warmer outside, but it’s not over yet. It’s a struggle out there on the streets,” said Gerald Plaskon, who works at the shelter as an intern social worker.

Marlow says she’s hopeful this closure will be temporary. She says if they are able to secure emergency funding this week from community donations, they may be able to reopen next week. She says she does not anticipate this halting next season, as long as they are able to secure funding throughout the remainder of this year.

“We’re at a real epidemic level here of homelessness. It’s not decreasing. It’s increasing,” Marlow said. “It’s a heartbreaking decision and we have hundreds of people that we service that come through our doors. They’re not going to get service anymore.”

If you’d like to donate, you can contact the nonprofit at kindness@motorcitymittenmission.org or use one of the following methods: