Doors to Open at Owosso Homeless Angels – Volunteers Needed
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
The Owosso Homeless Angels campus is set to open on Saturday, Oct. 19 – marking the date as a first toward serving as a transitory shelter for the area homeless population. After months of construction, the team behind Owosso Homeless Angels now moves to seeking volunteers to serve client needs. That team currently includes Shelly Ochodnicky, as director, along with volunteer coordinator Karen Small and food coordinator Donna Kanan. Darren Frye will be assisting with item donations. A SignUpGenius site has been allocated to help organize available time slots for volunteers. For those wishing to help with the schedule, which will include four hour shifts, please contact Karen Small at email@example.com or text/call her at (989) 277-6882. A night-shift volunteer from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is also needed. The shelter will be staffed with multiple individuals 24-hours per day, with a large number of cameras tracked through smartphone software at particular vantage points for safety. Keycode access is another safety feature.
The Homeless Angels team is also asking for churches and other organizations that might have commercial kitchens available, to help assist with food preparation for the evening meals. The campus kitchen remains under construction, but should be functioning by December. Warm meals are needed – particularly individually wrapped items. Breakfasts will include mostly prepackaged foods and lunches will be available through the Owosso Salvation Army, just one street south. The Owosso campus will have a cafeteria-style eating area, between the kitchen and a large community area.
Over last weekend, a team of around 30 residents assisted in finalizing the renovations, mostly cosmetic chores, in time for inspections. The city of Owosso issued Tim Baise, who is board president and the building donor, the certificate of occupancy on Monday, Oct. 7.
Ochodnicky shared on Tuesday, Oct. 8 that Homeless Angels likely has a first client lined-up for the Saturday opening. He is a 19-year-old Lincoln High School student, not originally from the area and minus family support, who is struggling and just wants to finish high school. “This will be a great environment for him to have a routine and a place to call home,” Ochodnicky shared, expressing her passion for youth.
The mission of Homeless Angels, which also has a campus in Lansing, is to help rebuild people by connecting them to desperately needed resources, all while offering them a place of safety and support. Guidelines are in place and have to be followed. The Owosso campus will include curfew times, though some flexibility related to client work schedules is allowed. Many local homeless people are employed.
The Owosso campus will have 28 beds available, with separate bunk-style dorm rooms for men, women and up to two families at a time.
Needed items include dark colored towels, dark colored twin sheet sets, paper plate products, cleaning supplies, laundry soap and diapers and baby wipes. The office of the facility is located directly off Park Street, across from Nelson-House Funeral Home. Client access is around the corner, across from the American-Legion building. Monetary donations and gift cards are always appreciated.
More information is available at www.homelessangels.org.