Rotating Shelter Aims to Help Homeless in Isabella County

A shelter, the first of its kind for one community, looking to help those with nowhere else to go.

The Isabella County Restoration House started a rotating shelter to help the homeless in their community.

The program coordinator says even though many parts of Isabella County are rural, homelessness has become a serious situation there.

“People would come in to the church, who were in need, and I had one place in town that gives hotel vouchers for a week at most, and that's not enough time for people to get back on their feet.”

Pastor Dana Hendershot saw first hand that there really was nowhere for the homeless to go in Isabella County. She and others brainstormed what they could do to help. They ultimately decided on the rotating shelter.

“It was determined that there is a need and about September we realized that winter was coming and we were working on some long term plans and decided lets just jump in head first and have something in place this Winter, so that people can get out of the cold that need to,” explained ICRH board member, Julia Keepper.

Men, women, and children can go to the Community of Christ Church (1102 E. Gaylord) in Mount Pleasant from 5:30 to 6:30 on any night. From there they are taken to whichever church is hosting the shelter that week.

“Once they arrive at the host church volunteers are here to provide a hot meal, some of the churches have showers, spend the evening, get a good nights sleep.”

They have already seen an improved quality of life in those that have used the rotating shelter.

“A couple days ago when they first came here, they were really tired, they were falling asleep, and everything like that and they just weren't getting a real night's rest. So last night they actually came and they were refreshed and they were happy and they were enjoying their time,” said Shane Fisher, program coordinator.

Volunteers know that there are plenty more homeless out there, and they hope that now because the shelter is available, many will get help they've been waiting for.

“It's life and death right now out there so what we want to show the community is every night, no matter the weather, we will be there.”

In the morning, transportation is provided to the Isabella Soup Kitchen, which serves breakfast and lunch.