Shiawassee County’s only homeless shelter celebrates 1 year serving their community
Homeless Angels opened their doors in Owosso last October
OWOSSO, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/19/2020) - “It’s easy to look from the outside in; but until you meet them where they’re at and figure out what their obstacles are and how they became homeless, it’s really hard to say and every individual and family situation has been different,” Shelly Ochodnicky, Director of Homeless Angels of Shiawassee County, said.
She explained the ultimate goal is getting their neighbor into a home. Part of that, is understanding their past, something they weren’t able to do with just a warming shelter.
“We were not able to case manage, we were not able to try to work out where they were coming from, why they were there, how they got there, anything of that nature,” she explained. “So, it was a band aid to a bigger problem.”
A problem they’ve been able to tackle head on over the last year since their doors opened in Owosso. So far, she said 57 adults, 14 children and 31 Shiawassee County families are now in their own home.
“And that was with being even shut down through COVID,” she said. “So we’re pretty proud of that!”
The shelter is open 24/7, but running right now at half capacity due to the pandemic.
Homeless Angels has two family rooms and two dorms. And Ochodnicky said, every basic need is met. Their warehouse is full of food, personal items and clothing. There’s a laundry room, too.
They also provide three meals a day thanks to the community. Ochodnicky said typically one hot meal a day is donated to their shelter.
They operate strictly on donations.
“So that every penny that comes in here only pays for our staffing and the needs to the building. We don’t have any overhead of, you know, CEOs and CFOs and anything of that nature,” she explained. “It is directly right here into our campus.”
Ochodnicky knew her community needed the resource, but is even more grateful it’s been there during the pandemic which has only increased the need.
“As some of the unemployment money is running out and that funding is kind of slowed down, yes, we are seeing a bigger need,” she said. “Obviously now the cold weather is here too, so we’re seeing that.”
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