Local shelter not ready to open on time, but not losing hope

HOUGHTON COUNTY — The Hope House Homeless Shelter has announced that it will not be ready to open on November 1st as it originally planned.

Shelter President and CEO John Niemela said this is because there are not enough host churches in rotation to house the shelter. The only church on board so far is First United Methodist Church is Hancock.

Niemela said during a phone interview with ABC 10 that there are some churches that are interested, but do not think there will be enough volunteers to staff the 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. hours of the shelter. However, the lack of churches and volunteers isn’t deterring the shelter’s efforts.

“The need hasn’t gone away. The need is still there and so we’re going to do everything that we can to try and help it and be able to help our homeless neighbors,” said Niemela. “We’re still moving forward and asking people to still stand with us and still check with us as far as the updates. We’re here for the long-haul.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering with the Hope House Shelter is asked to contact Niemela directly by email at johnniemela@gmail.com. He hopes that with enough community volunteers, more churches will agree to host and the shelter can open mid-season.

You can learn more about Hope House on their GoFundMe page.