The Story of Safe Harbor

SafeHarborInfoGraphic2017In 2003, the First Church of the Nazarene in Traverse City began offering a community meal program for homeless people. Later that same year, they added an emergency overnight shelter on the coldest nights. In the first season, as many as twenty-six guests per night were staying in the church.
The following year, several other churches became involved, and the program became a rotating shelter throughout the winter months.
During the 2011-2012 season, Safe Harbor provided 5,540 bed-nights and more than 11,000 meals to 158 different homeless men and women.
In 2012, Safe Harbor is an organization that includes over 20 churches and community groups. Now partnering with Goodwill’s Street Outreach program and the Goodwill Inn, three paid employees provide increased continuity and safety to both guests and volunteers.
The need is real. In January 2012, Goodwill’s Street Outreach program counted 906 homeless people and people at risk of homelessness in the Grand Traverse region. The homeless are also served by the Goodwill Inn, the Women’s Resource Center, and the homes of friends and relatives.
“I assure you, when you did it for one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it for me.” Matthew 25:40


Safe Harbor is a shelter program that attempts to create community between those in need and those who are able to help.

We do this through:

  • Rotating locations through the cold months.
  • Providing evening and morning meals.
  • Organizing volunteers who make themselves available to talk to, socialize with, and serve our guests.
  • Constantly working to improve our organization and base of support.

GT Safe Harbor rejects the following purposes:

Expectations of requirements that guests participate in studies or worship services in exchange for involvement in any GT Safe Harbor Programs.
Any way of gaining financial advantage from guests, such as recruiting them a tenants, selling goods or services, or asking for donations in return for our services.
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