The winter months in the city of Detroit bring hardships and uncertainty to individuals and families. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, these uncertainties have become stronger across the city. As the temperatures drop and snow starts to fall within city limits, there is worry about the people in our community struggling to find permanent housing, shelters and warm meals.
Several organizations in Detroit need help in order to keep serving individuals and families during this busy time of year. WDET has put together a list of organizations who offer services for Detroit residents to get through these harsh winter months.
New Life Rescue Mission
2600 18th St. Detroit, Michigan
Since 1975 the New Life Rescue Mission has provided a place to stay for homeless men in the city of Detroit. Located just west of the historic Corktown neighborhood, NLRM opens its doors at 6 p.m. nightly to men who wish to enter the mission. Volunteer groups prepare a meal for 30-60 people who stay each night. Before meal distribution, the mission encourages visitors to listen to a Bible message. Guests leave at 6 a.m. for the day.
Donations and Volunteering
If you would like to donate or volunteer to prepare meals for NLRM, call Bill Kelly at 734-765-9858.
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries
The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries offers two emergency shelters in the city and one in Highland Park. Shelter residents are able to stay overnight and are provided with meals. Visitors have the opportunity to shower and receive fresh clothing.
Detroit: 3535 Third Street Detroit, MI 48201
This shelter is an all-male facility. They offer an emergency shelter and transitional housing for men who are experiencing chronic homelessness and fighting addictions. The Detroit Rescue Mission offers the highest funded bed capacity at 100, with many nights over capacity.
Genesis House III: 626 E. Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48207
The Genesis House III location serves both single women and those with children. The facility offers treatment for those struggling with addictions or the impact of addiction in those who are close to them. The location also offers transitional housing. Genesis House III has a funded bed capacity of 24, but like Oasis, nightly visitors normally double.
Highland Park: 13220 Woodward Avenue Highland Park, MI 48203
Like DRM, this shelter is an all-male facility offering emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing. It houses their Returning Citizens program as well as transitional housing for veterans. The location has a funded bed capacity of 45, but on many nights the number staying in the shelter program doubles.
DRMM is looking for individuals to assist at their shelters’ soup kitchens in and around the city of Detroit daily in the month of December. Volunteers will assist the kitchen staff with prep work, serving meals, cleaning dishes, stocking food boxes, or whatever the kitchen manager might need help with. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Billie Lionberger at email@example.com or call 313-703-0925 for more information.
You can make a donation online this holiday season. DRMM notes that any contribution received above their current need will be used to care for hurting neighbors throughout the year.
Ruth Ellis Center
77 Victor Street, Highland Park, MI, 48203
Started in 1999, the Ruth Ellis Center has been providing long and short-term services for runaway, homeless and at-risk LGBTQ+ youth in and around the city of Detroit. Their mission is, “to create opportunities with LGBTQ+ young people to build their vision for a positive future.”
The nonprofit currently operates three housing programs:
- Kelly Stough Project
- Rapid Re-Housing
- Clairmount Center
The Kelly Stough Project serves survivors of human trafficking who identify as LGBTQ+. It provides safe and stable housing for those 18 years or older. Rapid Re-Housing assists LGBTQ+ youth stabilize their housing so they can work on their personal goals. The Clairmount Center is the newest housing program from REC, which opened this past fall in Detroit. It provides 43 units of permanent supportive housing and more services for LGBTQ+ youth dealing with homelessness.
“Our volunteer program is returning next year after being closed due to the pandemic. Anyone interested should follow us on social media and/or join or volunteer mailing list,” says Krystina Edwards, community engagement manager for Ruth Ellis Center.
445 Ledyard Street, Detroit, MI, 48201
Mariners Inn is located in Midtown Detroit and offers two housing programs —Mariners Inn Extended Residency (MER) and Recovery Housing (RH).
Based on their website, the programs are alcohol and drug-free environments for homeless men looking to gain independence. The philosophy of their housing program is, “to provide the highest level of professional services to all residents to help them overcome the problem of homelessness and related issues. We seek to address all barriers to independent living and provide an environment that encourages all to achieve their fullest potential.”
Before one can be admitted into the housing program, they must complete the organization’s residential treatment program. The MER program has a full capacity of 28 beds, where individuals can stay for up to two years. The RH program is a semi-independent living community with a capacity of 36 beds. Admitted men are allowed to stay for a minimum of six months, maximum two years.
Mariners Inn is always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents and skill levels to volunteer. Volunteers can help with a number of things, including: events, tutoring, clothing closet, resume assistance, and more. If you are interested in volunteering, visit the Mariners Inn volunteer page to fill out their volunteer application. Copies of your applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find a handful of tangible items to donate to Mariner’s Inn on their donation page. Some items that are appreciated are toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs and brushes to name a few. Drop off is convenient as you can schedule a time on the website to come by and share your donations. You can also donate online. Just $4.50 provides a warm meal to a resident of the program.
St. Christine Christian Services
22303 Fenkell, Detroit, MI, 48223
Located on Detroit’s west side, St. Christine Christian Services features a soup kitchen where you can receive multiple hot meals on Tuesdays starting at 12:30 p.m. and continuing until the meals are gone. All are welcome, and meals are generally gone within 2-3 hours. Soup kitchen manager Cathy Gillis says the need for warm meals has increased since the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit Detroit hard.
“Our meals have more than doubled since Covid. We used to give out around 200-220 (meals) and now its always over 400-420. For Thanksgiving week it was 483 meals. So the need is definitely growing.”
During the winter months, Gillis says it’s important for guests to know they have a place where they can go for services.
“It’s wonderful to know that they can count on us, we’ve done this for years. I’ve been here for eight years and especially at this time, they know they can come here. We support them, and most of all we love them.”
Across the street from the soup kitchen is their food pantry. Like the soup kitchen, the pantry is open Tuesdays from noon-3 p.m. Guests are invited to personally select their food items, which include but are not limited to bread, vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, milk, juice and cereal. Supplies are restocked throughout the day so there is no need to line up early. The pantry asks that guests bring their own bag or cart.
Livonia resident Eileen David, 62, recently started volunteering at the soup kitchen. She chose St. Christine because it holds a special place in her heart.
“I just wanted to give back to the community of Detroit, where I grew up,” David says. “My dad did this and I have the spirit of him doing this, and showing my kindness like he did. And spread happiness and joy, and just give everybody a warm hello and be there for them.”
Volunteers can assist in the kitchen prepping meals, in the dining room wrapping silverware, and passing out meals to guests. Over at the pantry, volunteers assist at grocery tables and help guests bring supplies to their cars.
Interested in volunteering? Call Patty H. at 810-919-0591
The soup kitchen appreciates Gordon Food Service and Costco store gift cards so they can keep serving Detroiters nutritious and healthy warm meals throughout the winter months. The food pantry accepts donations such as canned food, macaroni and cheese, and all packaged food. All donations can be dropped off on Mondays at the food pantry. For delivery on other days, they say to call 313-995-8673 so they can arrange for someone to be on-site to meet you.
Cass Community Social Services
11745 Rosa Parks Blvd, Detroit, MI, 48206
Cass Community Social Services (CCSS) provides a warming center as well as an emergency shelter. The warming center offers its services nightly to women and children. It is open now until March 31. The emergency shelter is open year-round to families with children for a maximum of 90 days.
In addition to housing, CCS provides food services thanks to their community garden and food rescuers, job programs and health services.
Volunteers at CCSS assist in food prep, document destruction, buildings and grounds projects, and activity time with clients. Volunteer shifts normally go from 9 a.m.- noon or 1-4 p.m. CCSS can also house volunteer groups up to 100 people. To learn more about volunteering at CCSS, view their brochure.
Donations are accepted at Cass Community Social Services’ office on Rosa Parks Boulevard or you can donate on their website.