HOUGHTON COUNTY–A homeless shelter serving Houghton and Hancock is currently seeking donations through a GoFundMe page to be ready for when the Upper Peninsula winter arrives.

Hope House Homeless Shelter was started after President and CEO John Niemela discovered a lack of resources in the community for homeless people. Niemela says there are about 149 homeless individuals between Houghton and Hancock and he is trying to raise money to offer support to these people as soon as possible.

“We are moving forward with trying to open up the shelter by November 1st,” said Niemela. “With our winters that we have, 183 inches of snow average in the wintertime, so we need a warm, safe place to help our neighbors be able to have a warm, safe place to live.”

Niemela modeled Hope House after Marquette’s Room At The Inn, where churches open their doors for a week so people can stay overnight on rotation with other churches. The first church to sign on to take in these individuals is First United Methodist Church in Hancock.

“Many of our churches are underutilized during the week and we have the space. To have local churches partner to provide a safe, warm place in the winter for those who lack adequate housing, I think is a great ministry that churches can get involved together with,” said Pastor Scott Lindenberg of First United Methodist Church.

Hope House is looking for more host churches and monetary donations to buy supplies. To find out more information or to donate, visit gofundme.com/HopeHouseShelter.