What is a rotating homeless shelter?
A rotating homeless shelter is a coalition of local churches and community organizations working together to take care of our brothers and sisters in need. Hosting churches will take turns in a Sunday-to-Sunday rotation by opening their doors to the homeless and offering them meals and a warm, safe place to sleep during the winter months. The guests will check into the hosting church between 6 and 9pm, and be off the premises by 8am.
Is there really a need in our area?
Yes, and the need is greater than many of us realize. Homeless statistics for Dickinson County are in the hundreds. Fortunately, the number of “true” homeless is less, but not even one person should be left out in the cold.
What is the difference between a host church and a support church?
A host church has two coordinators and has the space available to allow separate sleeping areas for men and women, separate restrooms, an area for intake, and an area for dining.
A support church is not able to be a physical shelter but can offer support in many ways including providing a coordinator/contact person. They can help out as volunteers at the host church, provide supplies, help with organizing meals, etc.
Will it cost my church anything?
The funds for The Light at the Inn come from different organizations, fund-raising events, etc. LATI functions as a non-profit organization with a budget, by-laws, checking account and executive committee. The cost to any individual church is minimal, although there may be some small impact on electric and heating bills and we anticipate working with each church around their preferred cleaning and maintenance supplies.
Is it safe to volunteer?
Absolutely. All guests will go through a check-in process where a breathalyzer is administered, a metal detector search is conducted, and the sex offender registry is checked. We work closely with the police to check for active wants and warrants. Guests will sign a contract with the understanding that a background check will be done. They will be informed of the rules for the Shelter and must agree to abide by them. Each hosting church will have at least one male and one female volunteer on site at all times. In addition to our volunteers being in a safe environment, we also respect the privacy of our guests and do not share information about them or their whereabouts.
How can I help?
Many, many ways. As a congregation, if your church is not on board as a host or support church already, talk to your pastor and/or various committee members. Light at the Inn committee members can help you with LATI informational materials and can share their experiences. As individuals, volunteers are needed and welcomed on many levels. You can help with meals (preparing on-site or bringing something to the host church, serving, clean up), moving items from church to church on Sundays, transportation of guests (a driver and another volunteer in the vehicle at all times), or you can volunteer to work the intake shift or one of the night shifts. You can donate items - - personal hygiene items including female hygiene, books, puzzles, games, food for bagged lunches, etc. A full list is available from a coordinator.
Thank you for considering being part of this program. If you want to talk to a coordinator, one is always available to answer your questions. Message us on Facebook, ‘Light at the Inn’, or call 906-282-5860.