New Battle Creek Homeless Shelter is Open
The Battle Creek Homeless Shelter, Inc. is now open to assist the underserved homeless population of greater Battle Creek.
The new shelter, located behind the building at at 209 E. Michigan Avenue, will provide services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These services will include overnight accommodations and meals and showers. Those in need will also be linked to other services providing such things as permanent housing, employment, and mental health support. These facilitation services will be provided by the Share Center and the Haven.
The shelter is a result of an existing need that has been made more pressing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the opening of the new facility, there was no day shelter in Calhoun County, and services and overnight shelter for the community’s homeless residents were lacking. The situation became more urgent with the onset of the pandemic.
A recent city hotel and motel ordinance also has put a spotlight on the problem, as many homeless people were living in those locations in what some have called unsafe conditions.
Earlier this year local businesses, organizations, and individuals recognized the severity of the homeless situation in Calhoun County and how the pandemic was making an already critical state of affairs worse. At that time homeless residents of the area were being housed in a tent where social distancing and other requirements could not be observed properly.
A task force of 12 organizations including the Battle Creek Community Foundation, Community Action, Calhoun County Health Department, SHARE Drop-In Center, the Haven, Bronson Health System, United Way, Summit Pointe mental health agency and city and civic leaders was formed to find a solution to the issues facing the homeless population as quickly as possible. The result is the Battle Creek Homeless Shelter, Inc.
The majority of the funding needed to operate the shelter has been obtained via state and federal assistance. An extensive fundraising effort is underway to raise the rest of the necessary capital.
The Consumers Energy Foundation recently made a $45,000 grant to the new shelter. One of the obstacles of getting the new shelter up and running was the installation of a fire suppression system. The Consumers Energy Foundation grant made that possible. It’s part of the foundation’s ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. Consumers suspended regular grant-making earlier this year to focus on supporting nonprofits providing relief to populations hardest hit by the pandemic, including the homeless.
While the shelter remains a work in progress, it is open and assisting the most vulnerable population in our community. The Battle Creek Community Foundation is serving as the fiduciary agent for the shelter, which is overseen by a Board of Directors.