Mustard Seed Shelter expanding to serve more homeless women in Saginaw

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SAGINAW (WJRT) (6/13/2019) - Saginaw's Mustard Seed Shelter is breaking ground on an expansion project allowing the organization to help more women in need.

The Mustard Seed Shelter in Saginaw is growing to help more homeless women in the Saginaw area.

The shelter has been turning away women because of limited space. A fundraising campaign is going so well that the shelter will soon have new space.

So far, Mustard Seed has secured $700,000 of the $1 million fundraising goal.

"Saginaw is an amazing community and when we throw something out there, when we throw a need out there, it almost always is met," said Director Amy Bartels Roe.

The Mustard Seed Shelter can house 15 people, women and children who are homeless. But many more call because they need help.

Services coordinator Tina Jones said she turns away seven or eight people, if not more, ever day. To expand, a fundraising campaign began two years ago with pledges from Dave and Lori Pendleton of Frankenmuth, who saw the need for more space.

The project got a big boost as well from Patty Shaheen, who toured the Mustard Seed home, which is a former church rectory.

"I could not tell the guests in the house from the volunteers from the working staff, and that was nice," Shaheen said. "Everyone was talking with such respect."

Jones stayed at the shelter before she began working there. She said the shelter got her back on track after what she calls "bad decisions, poor planning and poor budgeting."

"Without the Mustard Seed, a lot of the ladies would be lost and I was one of those, and that was 16 years ago," Jones said.

Bartels Roe said women and their families can stay at Mustard Seed for as long as they need. The 3,500-square-foot expansion will provide more space to help more women for longer.

Bartels Roe said other improvements to the area are taking place to revitalize the entire neighborhood.

"They are scared to walk around here, not because there is any crime but because there are so many dead trees, just areas of rubbish, abandoned homes," she said. "We are going to take this area back."

Construction on the expansion is expected to begin this summer and the project could be completed by next spring.