MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN)-November was Homelessness Awareness Month, and the agencies that work to end homelessness gathered Wednesday night to present a unified voice outlining the resources available to those in need. The program, ‘Homelessness in the 906’ is working to raise awareness of homelessness, and the resources available.
Nick Emmendorfer has been working to end homelessness for many years. As the former head of Room at the Inn shelter, he has seen the resources for homeless individuals increase over the past few years, with multiple organizations involved in providing relief.
“Yeah, there’s three active emergency shelters in Marquette right now,” said Emmendorfer. “There’s a shelter called Superior Connections which is a rotating shelter through churches, similar to the old Room at the Inn model. There’s also Room at the Inn itself, which is a physical location on Washington Street, and the Janzen House actually has eight emergency beds in the basement of their facility.”
The main focus of Homelessness in the 906, is making sure those in need are aware of the agencies available, and how to contact them.
“We have Community Action Alger/Marquette and they’re the ones that take most of the calls for referrals if someone you know are you are experiencing homelessness,” said Emmendorfer. “We have the Janzen House in Marquette. We have some housing programs through Lutheran Social Services. The Salvation Army provides meals and aid to the shelters. We have Room at the Inn, your local homeless shelter and then there’s also the Women’s Center which has a domestic violence shelter.”
Currently, there are 47 homeless individuals in Marquette County and 20 families in need of housing. With winter soon approaching, the need for emergency shelters will no doubt increase, taxing the three shelters in Marquette.
“We see other big cities that really struggle with a very visible issue of homelessness, and some of the stigma and concerns that come along with that,” said Emmendorfer. “But the issue we face though it’s not perfect, and there’s a lack of resources. It’s a manageable situation compared to what Chicago or L.A. or some of what the bigger cities are dealing with. So, if we can get on it now, start learning to educate ourselves with what solutions are, how to access services, we can make a big impact so that we one day don’t end up with a very visible and scary issue of homelessness in our community”