It takes a village: RATI’s permanent homeless shelter complete with help from Marquette Branch Prison and NMU’s CTE middle college program

Positively U.P.

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – After years of hopping around to different churches in the Marquette area to seek refuge, Room at the Inn finally has a permanent shelter they call their own.

“We can shift our focus,” said Nick Emmendorfer, Executive Director, Room at the Inn. “Now we don’t have to worry every week about what church we’re staying at and doing all the beds and doing all the laundry and coordinating all the meals. Now that we’re all in one place we can focus on what we should be focusing on and that’s getting these people out of shelters and into the housing programs they need.”

Friday’s finishing touches featured what every home needs, a place to sleep.

“We will have a capacity for up to 30 people in beds and we’ll have an overflow space downstairs for an additional five people if need be,” said Emmendorfer.

These beds are not just your typical ones manufactured by a company.

“We were able to partner with the Marquette Branch Prison and their woodworking shop and some of the inmates and the instructors there constructed the bunk beds,” said Emmendorfer. “And we have some of the local CTE students from Marquette working here to assemble the beds on sight and then of course they’re partnering with us, Room at the Inn the non-profit agency making the shelter possible.”

Samantha Finch was one of the students helping with bunk beds.

“In the past, I’ve donated clothes and stuff here,” said Finch. “Next week, I’m going to be donating a meal through middle college with some of my buddies. It means so much just to be able to help people who are in need and just like no one deserves to be out on the streets in -17 degree weather.”

“Luckily these people have the skills to actually put the skills to put the beds together,” said Emmendorfer. “I think that’s a really cool way for them to come get in touch and get their hands dirty learning where the shelter is, what it does, and what our purpose is for being here.”

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