Safe Harbor In Traverse City Opening Shelter Doors For First Time

Safe Harbor in Traverse City celebrated on Wednesday because they finally have a place to call home.

It was a four year project.

They managed to raise $1.75 million.

The new emergency homeless shelter will be able to provide many services they weren’t able to before.

The doors don’t officially open until Saturday, but we had the chance to tour the new facility as they celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Safe Harbor’s new facility will be more than just a place for people to sleep, they will now be able to offer laundry services and showers, something they weren’t able to before.

“Probably the biggest thing that we’ve got going for us now, is we now have the ability to help work towards getting them out of the shelter,” said Peter Starkel, building chairman for Safe Harbor.

Safe Harbor has been around since 2003 providing services by rotating to different churches.

The idea of bringing their own facility to Traverse City did come with some concerns.

“We probably drank 10,000 gallons of coffee meeting with people and really just educating them to what we do, the state of homelessness in our region, then you saw people feeling a lot more comfortable,” said Starkel.

Followed by working with the city, buying the building and finally, building it.

The organization made up of more than 2,000 volunteers, say they actually want to work themselves out of business.

“It’s a reality, so that’s why we’re here but we now have offices, we have people who will be coming in and working with our guests towards seeking a permanent housing solution instead of having to use our shelter,” said Starkel.

“For us to end homelessness we have to work together, we can’t do it alone so coming together around the people experiencing homelessness is going to help us be more efficient and reach more people,” said Ryan Hannon, street outreach coordinator for Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan.

Safe Harbor will open their door for services for the first time on Saturday.