The Shelter Association of Washtenaw County is getting ready to accommodate larger crowds for the winter. Here's where they currently stand when it comes to the number of people seeking help.
The Delonis Center in Ann Arbor has fifty residential beds--they're all currently taken. But when it comes to warming centers and rotating shelters offered by local churches, more than seventy spots are still available. That means they're only halfway through their capacity.
John Schippers is the Clinical Director for the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County.
"When need increases as cold weather sets in for the serious campers and people living in places not meant for habitation, we might not start seeing them until later December or even January, depending on the weather. But there is no doubt that roughly starting near the end of December through late March, we'll be at capacity."
Schippers says, for many homeless people, the shelters are the only place that could provide them with a roof over their heads during the winter.
"We offer laundry and showers to anyone who's experiencing homelessness. Last year, I think we did something like 15,000 showers for people who weren't staying here. Meals are served here by our community partner Food Gatherers. So, and of course, our mission is to end homelessness. So, our team of social workers are always engaging with people and helping them establish income and find housing. So, last year, we housed 232 unique individuals permanently and sustainably."
Schippers added that those who seek assistance from the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County will also get help from the group's medical partner, Packard Health.
"One of the great things they're able to do is, you know, often when someone comes to us, they're in kind of a fragile medical state. Maybe they haven't had their blood pressure medicine, you know, in a year or something. And Packard has proven wonderful at helping stabilize folks."
Volunteer opportunities are available at the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County for those interested in helping the homeless.
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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org