The Janzen House is renovating, The Room At The Inn has extended its hours and is looking for a permanent shelter space, the ASNMU Food Pantry officially opened to help anyone in the NMU community who is experiencing food insecurity and Grandview Marquette offers low income housing and housing for the formerly homeless. The Marquette Community has recently made multiple efforts to aid the local homeless population, but the reality of homelessness in our area is often overlooked.
When living in our little city tucked away in the snow covered trees of the Upper Peninsula, it’s easy to ignore problems that are not immediately apparent to us. Homeless people don’t beg on the streets or sleep on the sidewalks, but we shouldn’t let the problem perpetuate just because it evades our eyes. The solution to homelessness is not one of singularity, but one that requires the resources, time and empathy of many.
The first step to combatting the scale of homelessness in our area is simply being aware of it.
One who is homeless is defined as “an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing,” according to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
Many students fall into this definition whether in between leases, the lack of a more permanent address or the inability to pay for housing, as the average cost is around $400 per bedroom in Marquette. It’s no shock that homelessness affects the on-campus student population as well. Many have been known to live in campgrounds, local woods, cars and even in university buildings aside from the dorms.
While many of us students may be included in this population or lack the funds to be able to give back, we can still donate our time and spread awareness to others. Perhaps you could donate your time by volunteering for a shift at The Room At The Inn, donate any extra clothing you may be collecting or just make the small gesture of saying hello to someone on the street. Their way of life may be far from your own, but everyone wants to feel human.
While canned goods are always appreciated, there is currently a great supply at the local homeless shelters. The Janzen House is in need of underwear, socks and monetary donations. The Room At The Inn is asking for donations of cereal, coffee, city garbage bags and gift cards to Gordon Food Services. Check The Room At The Inn homepage for specific items they are also in need of.