Light at the Inn starts 7th season
Light at the Inn had its annual membership meeting to prepare for the beginning of its seventh season of service to the homeless of the Dickinson-Iron County area. The purpose of Light at the Inn is to provide support for those in this area who are struggling to find and maintain stable and secure shelter for themselves and their families through the cooperative efforts of an interfaith coalition. Light at the Inn is a 501(c)(3) organization.
From November 2016 until spring 2020, Light at the Inn operated as a rotating shelter between eight different churches in Iron Mountain, Kingsford and Norway during the winter months. A large group of local volunteers were involved in scheduling, cooking, transporting, cleaning and maintaining the shelter each week at the various churches.
When the fall of 2020 came around, it was obvious COVID-19 would change the scope of LATI operations — but not the spirit! Since it was not possible to use the dormitory-style shelter in the churches any more, Light at the Inn joined forces with Community Action Alger Marquette, a social service agency, and began issuing emergency hotel vouchers in the evenings and on weekends to those in need of temporary shelter. The issues with COVID have diminished but Light at the Inn found this system offers many positive results, including keeping families together and directing them to the proper agencies to assist with their problems in a timely manner.
Light at the Inn is funded by church and community donations, reimbursement from CAAM and a local grant from the Dickinson Community Foundation. This all volunteer organization has been able to provide more than $11,000 in extended hotel and campground stays just within the past year. In addition, Light at the Inn provided 12 homeless travelers with bus tickets to reunite with their families in other areas. An additional $2,000 was spent on food cards, food packages, gas cards and moving assistance. Since November 2021, LATI has assisted with issuing emergency hotel vouchers for more than 120 families, providing them with a warm, safe place to stay on a temporary basis.
Light at the Inn could not operate without the continued support of the local churches, organizations and the donations of concerned community members. Many volunteer hours are committed to assist those in need. We are so thankful to the local hotels, campgrounds and agencies that cooperate with this program.
With winter starting in the U.P., Light at the Inn recognizes it is even more critical to provide for these emergency situations. Anyone can find themselves homeless — perhaps a major family emergency depletes your savings, a house fire, an unexpected eviction or a domestic dispute. November was Homeless Awareness Month. Be aware of those around you who may be struggling to find a safe home or to maintain what they have. You can always tell them about Light at the Inn.
If you or someone you know is in need of shelter: Call CAAM at 1-800-562-9762, ext. 207, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Central time. After hours and weekends, call Emergency Shelter Services at 906-282-0084.
Those who are curious or want to volunteer can call the administrative phone at 906-282-5860.