Organization working to help people in the U.P. struggling with homelessness

HOUGHTON — Homelessness in the Copper Country is a real problem, even if you can’t always see it.

If you’re struggling with homelessness there is help for you. That’s the message that the folks from the Copper Country Homeless Prevention Coalition (CCHPC) shared with people at Project Homeless Connect.

Statistics show there are around 150 people homeless in Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga Counties, with roughly half of those being under the age of 18. But since they aren’t seen sleeping on park benches or living in alleyways many people don’t even know they are there.

CCHPC Chairman John Niemela said, “There’s some people that will be staying at people’s or friend’s homes, sleeping on a couch. We do have people that I know that are sleeping in their vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot or some people that, during the warmer weather, might find a tent somewhere out in the woods.”

The event provided information on available services for anyone experiencing homelessness now or in the future. Niemela said, “So that way, if they do have that situation come up, they’ve already say, ‘Hey, I remember I stopped at the Project Homeless Connect event and got information. Let me see if I can find that piece of paper that I picked up’ while they were at the event.”

The event was hosted by Hope Fellowship Church with additional funding from the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness.