EASTPOINTE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Sunday morning, volunteers at the Macomb County Winter Shelter took cots out of boxes to prepare an overflow shelter in the county set to open Sunday night for people in need.
The Macomb County Winter Shelter was started by Kathy Goodrich in 2002. After Goodrich died in 2020, the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team (MCREST) ran the overflow shelter's services.
Using COVID relief funds, MCREST was able to provide emergency housing for the homeless community at area motels during the pandemic. This year, however, due to a lack of much needed funding, the organization said it would not be able to continue providing these necessary services.
With community members potentially being left to find new accommodations, Gail Marlow with Motor City Mitten Mission says she was approached by area pastors to pick things up. Marlow, who says she has been working with people in need since she was a child, got to work fundraising about a month ago.
"I think the need in Macomb County is a lot greater than most people realize," said Marlow. "We get dozens and dozens of phone calls every day from families, from individuals that are struggling with homelessness asking for a place to go to and to stay. So, I think the need is much greater than what people realize."
According to state data, more than 30,000 people were reported homeless in 2021.
To prevent people in metro Detroit from being turned away at shelters that have reached capacity, the winter shelter will reopen as The Kathy Goodrich Winter Shelter.
For the next several weeks, the overflow shelter will rotate through several churches in Macomb county:
- Dec. 4 - 10: Christian Trinity Church, 21770 Kelly Rd, Eastpointe
- Dec. 11 - 17: Love Life Family Christian Center, 17363 Toepfer Dr, Eastpointe
- Dec. 18 - 24: TBA
- Dec. 25 - 31: St. Isaac Joques Catholic Church, 21100 Madison St., St. Clair Shores
- Jan. 1 - 7: Utica United Methodist Church, 8650 Canal Rd., Sterling Heights
- Jan. 8 - Feb 25: Trinity Lutheran Church Warren, 8150 Chapp Ave., Warren
- Feb. 26 - Mar 4: 1st Presbyterian Church, 3000 Twelve Mile Rd., Warren
- Mar 5 - 25: Trinity Lutheran Church, 8150 Chapp Ave., Warren
- Mar 26 - Apr 1: Celtic Cross Presbyterian Church, 11451 E. 10 Mile Rd., Warren
"We’re setting up everywhere," said Steve Morisette with Christian Trinity Church in Eastpointe.
Sunday morning, volunteers worked to put out around 60 cots, blankets, pillows and mattress padding at Christian Trinity Church. Morisette says getting involved with the shelter effort was a no brainer.
"I think people always need a second chance and people all need to be treated with love and respect. So we want to show that love and respect to that community no matter who they are," he added.
Anyone, regardless of religious background can go to the shelter. Guests will not only get a bed to sleep in but will also receive meals and bus passes.
Marlow says as the program gets back on track, they're going to need funding to continue to run.
Motor City Mitten Mission is working to raise $200,000 to continue running the shelter long term. She says they also need volunteers and food donations. Marlow says any small gift can help.
"Our slogan, it’s on our van: it’s easy to be kind. Small gestures can make a difference. Everybody can make a difference," said Marlow.
The shelter will be open every night from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Dec 4-April 1. People interested in donating to the shelter can do so on the Motor City Mitten Mission website.