Earlier this month, the Hispanic Service Center hosted a special event to thank the volunteers who make their programs possible. Special recognition was given to the volunteers from Gateway Church who gave of their time to make the organization’s homeless shelter livable again. The duplex home on Almont Ave. was temporarily closed due to some interior damage. Considering it is the only emergency shelter for families in all of Lapeer County, its closure, even though temporary, was rather significant.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, more than 8,300 Michigan residents experienced homelessness in 2018. Fortunately, that figure has dropped 32 percent since 2014. The Alliance reports that of the 38 states that have seen their homeless population rates decline since 2007, Michigan saw the largest decrease—70 percent.
In a community like ours, homelessness probably looks different than in more urban areas. When situations arise, most people have family or friends who can provide a temporary place to stay but those arrangements can put additional pressure on the people in need of help and those who lend a hand. The Alliance reports that the number of “doubled up” people in Michigan–those living with family and friends–has actually risen since between 2007 and 2017 by six percent. Having facilities like the Hispanic Service Center’s is one way the community can help shoulder the burden of homelessness and help families get started on the road toward self-sufficiency.
We trust that churches, organizations and individuals will do what they can to continue their support of the center’s shelter and other efforts to help those without proper housing. As the winter months approach, we can all appreciate the security that comes from having a safe, warm place to call home.