Keeping a promise of compassion

Our guests include adults, over the age of eighteen, who are able to leave drugs and alcohol at the
door in order to provide a safe environment for other guests and volunteers.
• 74% are from Grand Traverse County
• 85% are from the five-county region
• 93% are from the ten counties of northern Michigan
Since 2012, we have seen an 85% increase in bed nights at Safe Harbor. Today
in Traverse City, an estimated 94 people are living on the street. Most have
mental illness, substance abuse issues, or a combination of the two.
Last year, Safe Harbor served 172 different adults who were
experiencing homelessness — the vast majority used our
services for a short time while getting back on their
feet. Safe Harbor provides a vital safety net
for people when they are most vulnerable.

What is the mission of Safe Harbor?

Dedicated to the preservation of the physical health and spiritual welfare of people experiencing homelessness, a primary goal of Safe Harbor is to offer food, shelter, and hope for guests staying in our shelter. As part of the Continuum of Care, we also focus on community partnerships in order to better collaborate on long-term solutions to ending homelessness in our region. Safe Harbor is a non-profit providing seasonal emergency shelter, case management and housing assistance for adults experiencing homelessness. Our organization was borne of tragedy— starting more than 10 years ago after a homeless individual fell into Kids Creek and subsequently froze to death.

In 2003, The First Church of the Nazarene said, “No more.” They opened their doors and begun offering meals and shelter during the coldest times. As many as 26 people per night were sheltered over the course of a month and a half. The next year, several other churches joined to form a rotating shelter network, led by a Steering Committee comprised of participating church members. Fast forward to present day, where 23 churches participate and a nightly average of 64 individuals are expected over the season spanning from November through April.

Our Community is Engaged

Besides providing a safe place for those who are cold and hungry, Safe Harbor provides valuable companionship and hope for individuals who desperately need it. Thousands of volunteers cover shifts for check-in, scheduling, meals, clean up, overnight supervision, medication distribution, laundry, transportation, set-up and tear-down. All have been thoroughly trained and are sensitive to issues surrounding homelessness. In addition to these important volunteer services, we will be able to offer even more in a permanent home. Safe Harbor plans to partner with other community agencies to offer case management and housing assistance, mentoring support, counseling services, job training and medical and mental health care. The overall goal is to assist street homeless into permanent or supportive housing.