Former Friendship Housing Center Purchased, Now Affordable Housi - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Former Friendship Housing Center Purchased, Now Affordable Housing

Posted: Updated:

This homeless shelter closed last Summer. Now, it's filled with new tenants thanks to a local businessman.

The Friendship Housing Center in Gaylord was forced to close its doors in August after struggling to make ends meet.

In November, a local business owner purchased the units to be used as affordable apartments, something many say is hard to come by.

Andy Behrenwald purchased the Northernaire Resort last September, and found that many of his guests staying there were homeless.

That's when he decided to purchase the former shelter, to give people a home that they could afford.

"It's tough out there right now for everybody."

Andy Behrenwald, who owns a number of businesses in the Gaylord-area, says in no time after his purchase, people were eager to move in.

"I was here, somebody would show up, nowhere to live, 'Can I have a place to live?'"

Seven of the eight units are currently filled- he's providing lower-rent homes for families, the disabled, and veterans.

"The second person that moved in, where they lived, they could actually see out the roof and how do you survive in this kind of weather when you see right out the roof? They're grateful, they're just happy to have a place to live," Behrenwald explained.

Somewhere they are able to call their own that only costs them $400 to $500 a month.

"You get your heat, and your electric, and garbage, and we're working on TV so it's good."

Behrenwald says he's simply helping people, one affordable place to stay at a time.

"Between the two places, I think we have 40 people living in them now, so that's 40 people that have a place to live."

Right now, the sign out front does still say The Friendship Housing Center.

Behrenwald says he eventually plans to change the name to something with "affordable living" in the title.