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Safe Harbor Asks for Permit and Staff Change

Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse is a religious non-profit that provides shelter to the homeless during the winter.

When they first proposed a permanent location, the organization made an agreement with Traverse City to keep the same number of volunteers as when it moved from church to church. That agreement was to provide four volunteers in addition to a full-time paid Goodwill staff member. But after two years, they say four volunteers simply aren’t needed.

Board Chair of Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse Mike McDonald said, recruiting volunteers is difficult enough, so having to recruit more volunteers than what is needed isn’t what they want to do.

“It’s difficult enough to recruit volunteers, and what we didn’t want to do is recruit volunteers for a job that wasn’t really needed,” he says.

Now, Safe Harbor is going to the city to propose an amendment. McDonald said they’re asking to reduce the overnight volunteers from four to two, with the paid Goodwill staff member. As well as asking that in the future if the shelter had to reduce more staff, that the amendment process would be smoother.

As of right now, Safe Harbor is having to go through a four month process in order to amend this agreement. In June the group went in front of the Traverse City Planning Commission. On Monday, July 15, they’re to go in front of the Traverse City Commission to schedule a hearing in August.

If the change is approved, however, it would not mean the group doesn’t need volunteers, just not as many. To learn how you can become a volunteer, visit the .