Homelessness is a national and local issue. Right here, in Genesee County there are more than 200 individuals living in emergency shelters every night and countless others living on the streets, in their cars and in abandoned buildings. The fastest growing group of homeless is families with children.
Last year, Shelter of Flint served over 1,300 homeless individuals and family members. Every day the Emergency Shelter fills its capacity of beds.
The causes of homelessness are complicated and have no simple fix. Through emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing – and through the generosity of our host communities – we’re helping families find their way home.
Shelter of Flint, Inc. originally began operations on February 1, 1983, under the name Emergency Night Shelter for Women. Located in the former Holy Angels Convent near downtown Flint, the shelter was a joint effort of fifteen agencies and organizations that understood the reality of women needing temporary emergency housing. Catholic Social Services sponsored the endeavor.
Women over the age of seventeen and legally emancipated seventeen-year-olds were provided assistance regardless of race, color, creed or previous mental or physical disabilities. Initial response was low, but through networking with other Flint agencies and improved media coverage, the number of women arriving at the shelter soon increased.
In July 1983, under the new name Emergency Shelter for Women & Children, the shelter continued to add services and programs with a stronger emphasis on children. Following an increase in grant funding later that same year, services were expanded to twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Along with a 1991 move to the present Delaware Avenue location, Shelter of Flint has continued to grow as it strives to meet the varied needs of homeless women and families. We currently operate three housing programs, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing, and a plethora of supportive services.
In 1983, the Shelter operated on a “shoestring” budget of $200,000 a year. In 1995, with the expansion of services, the annual budget reached $900,000. With the Shelter now offering a full range of services to the homeless population, the yearly revenues needed to operate have reached over $1.3 million.
Shelter of Flint serves approximately 1,300 homeless adults and children each year in its various programs. Clients experience a variety of homelessness contributing circumstances, including lack of safe, affordable housing, eviction, job loss, condemned housing, fire, family violence, substance abuse, neighborhood crime, mental health issues, acute and chronic illness and physical disabilities. Almost all Shelter of Flint’s clients have income levels below the poverty level and face multiple barriers to sustained, living-wage employment.