Tally taken for shelter funding


The Janzen House was once a railroad hotel but now serves as a low income shelter. The building was built in the early 18902. Photo by: Lindsey Eaton

Trevor Drew

Volunteers swept the streets of Marquette all of Wednesday, Jan. 30 to take tally of homeless individuals for the “Point in Time” count, a nationwide survey that helps the Department of Housing and Urban Development disseminate money to homeless programs.

The number recorded in the count will determine funding for local nonprofit providers and programs that homeless individuals or families can utilize in order to become self-sufficient and attain housing, Doug Russell, Room at the Inn director said.

While the funding does not affect Room at the Inn directly, Russell explained that it does affect the number of housing vouchers provided, which are an important resource in helping their guests transition into apartment living.

“We want to have as many vouchers available to our guests as possible. And of course for many of them, that’s their only avenue to leave the shelter. And so, from that standpoint, it helps us by helping more of our guests move into housing more quickly,” Russell said.

While it’s easy to determine the number of homeless people already in programs and shelters, Russell explained that the challenge is finding individuals who are not involved in homeless programs and do not have a permanent address.

To find those individuals, volunteer groups checked places open 24 hours, such as gas stations, supermarkets and hotel lobbies.