Hello Folks, Andrew Terry with The Refuge Homeless Shelter of Lapeer - giving you an update from The Refuge.
Recently, the board of directors had to make a hard decision in delaying our opening for two weeks. Instead of opening on November 1, we are now going to open our doors to the homeless on November 15.
There are several factors in making this decision. One is we are still working on our building to accommodate our changes for shelter and changes for COVID crisis. We are doing renovations to add a shower, expand our kitchen, and get the building ready to social distance and receive the homeless.
Another factor is we want to be able to expand our volunteer base. In the past we have helped the churches that were unable to fill their volunteer spots by reaching out to our network of churches and volunteers. We want to expand that network even more. We want to make sure no church is left out of helping the homeless in our community. We want to be able have people available to fill shifts, give food, and give support.
To do this we needed to put together new policies, and new training, especially for health issue and COVID. We will format an online sign up for days or weeks churches are not able to help. We will also offer online tutorials for new volunteers that have not helped The Refuge in the past.
One issue that is restricting us is the zoning to use our building. There is an interpretation in the law that we are only able to shelter our guests at our building 14 days out of the month. This means we needed to find another place to shelter our guests overnight. We have found the Michigan Christian Youth Camp (MCYC) - they have graciously given use of one of their buildings to use for the other days of the month we cannot shelter at our own place. This means for two weeks we will shelter at our own building. The other two weeks will be at the MCYC. Until the city gives us approval to use our building for shelter temporarily during this COVID crisis, we will be using this 2-week-on-2-week-off model.
That being said, there is a public hearing regarding our use of our building coming on November 4 at 6:30. The meeting is happening through Zoom. In this meeting the city will hear from the public the pros and cons of allowing us to use our building as shelter temporarily during this COVID crisis. We will not have a decision until December 7. Until then we will do everything we can to ensure the homeless are sheltered whether at our building or at the camp ground.
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This is Andrew Terry asking you to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.