A northern Michigan homeless shelter is preparing for the colder months ahead and working to incorporate new safety and health guidelines. Now in its 17th season, Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse plans to open their overnight services in just a few weeks.
Safe Harbor located on Wellington Street in Traverse City has been providing a day shelter for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic but is now gearing up for their usual schedule from November through April.
This year they’re having to follow strict COVID-19 guidelines for the shelter including guests and volunteers having to undergo temperature and health checks before entering the building and a new more physically distant entry point at the front of the building.
There will also be an outdoor heated tent for the dining area instead of their usual indoor meal area and major changes to the interior of the building. This includes changes to the sleeping quarters and areas that’ll be used for isolation stations should a guest have any symptoms of COVID-19.
“We are of course, doing something different with the beds. We’re planning to erect a sort of tent-like around each of the beds and will be a shower curtain on one side, that can be pulled after people are in the bed. This will allow us to continue to use bunk-beds…We will be requiring the guests to wear their masks except when they’re seated and eating or sleeping. That will be enforced like some of our other guidelines,” says Safe Harbor chair of the board of directors, Mike McDonald.
Safe Harbor is currently having professional electro-static cleaning down on a regular basis for disinfecting purposes. They’re also looking for younger, less vulnerable volunteers for their morning and evening shifts because of the pandemic.
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer you need to fill out an application and you’ll then be interviewed.
For more information on volunteering and the application process click here.