Hope House on Hold: Not enough volunteers

Hope House shelter plans for rotating emergency shelter is still on hold due to lack of church involvement.

The goal was to open the shelter by Nov. 1, but that was pushed back and there is no set date as of now.

“We are still seeking additional churches. We are looking to get six,” said John Niemela, Hope House president and CEO.

Niemala said the current interested churches have not agreed to the partnership because they feel as if they don’t have enough members and volunteers to work the hours that the shelter will be open.

“We are trying to help them gain volunteers. Once we confirm the list of supporters we will go back and show the churches that we have a large support base,” said Niemala.

He is hoping that more than 100 supporters who come to their meetings will be willing to dedicate their time to the churches and help move the rotating shelter plans forward.

The plan is to have each local church partner host the Hope House Shelter for seven days from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. before relocating to the next host church.

Hope House has collected over $2,000 in donations for the rotating shelters via its GoFundMe crowdfunding site. Organizers are still collecting additional funds.

Niemala says the local homeless coalition has been working “to help the homeless with paperwork and to get services that are available.”

He says they redirect people who are homeless to shelters that are open if they are willing to leave the area. Some of those are in Marquette, Escanaba and Iron Mountain.

For more information, contact John Niemala at 281-2042 or JohnNiemela@gmail.com.

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