Room at the Inn hosts homelessness forum

MARQUETTE — Room at the Inn hosted a public forum Tuesday night to discuss the homelessness issue in Marquette County at Messiah Lutheran Church. The shelter is set to begin operation on September 24th, but members of the community were given an opportunity to discuss their issues.

Executive Director of Room at the Inn Douglas Russell said the meeting is in response to a popular Facebook post about the issue.

“Everyone here in our community has a stake in what happens,” said Russell. “Our homeless residents are from our area and they need our help, that’s why Room at the Inn exists. That’s why our partner agencies, and there are more than a dozen, work with this population to help them move forward. We want to help the public be able to understand more about how that process works, what we’re doing and, again, looking for new strategies.”

Representatives of several Room at the Inn partners and community members spoke about homelessness on their organization’s behalf. The discussion was then opened to involve the public.

While some blamed the homeless population from outside of Marquette County for local issues, the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness reported that only 13 percent of homeless people seeking services in Marquette were considered “non-residents.”