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Review for Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I first came to the Shelter on a volunteer basis. As a volunteer I received the opportunity to observe shelter operations, do laundry, and engage with shelter clients.

The Shelter meets the basic needs of hundreds of individuals on a daily basis. Many of these needs are things that I was guilty of taking for granted, before coming to the Shelter.

A shower, the opportunity to do laundry, access to a telephone, food, and storage for personal belongings are just a few things that become available to individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

The shelter also provides a clean bed in a safe environment, all year round, to 50 Residential clients. When temperatures drop, the shelter is able to provide a bed for an additional 60+ individuals through it's warming center and an additional 25 beds through it's rotating shelter. Each night, through the winter months, 135+ individuals receive shelter from the cold and a place to sleep. If it were not for the shelter, these individuals would have no place to go.

The Shelter does more than provide a temporary solution to a problem. Shelter staff are compassionate and empathetic as they work with individuals on a case by case basis to assist them in finding income and affordable housing, so as to end their experience of homelessness as quickly as possible.

Engaging with clients provided me with the opportunity to understand the circumstances that may lead to an individual's homeless circumstance. The majority of the individuals that I encountered have disabilities that put them at a disadvantage as they seek to obtain or struggle to maintain employment. Many individuals have experienced trauma or tragedy that led to their becoming homeless. Most of the clients at the Shelter are optimistic about their future and work hard to do their part to end their experience of homelessness. The Shelter provides individuals with the help that they need to get back on their feet.

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field