Contact: Peter Starkel, Chairperson, Safe Harbor

Phone: 231-642-2435 Email:

Safe Harbor Submits a Purchase Offer to Traverse City

After 19 months of planning and engagement with The City of Traverse City, Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse, Inc. has filed an application and offer to purchase the building located at 517 Wellington Street.  The offer is the next step in securing a permanent emergency shelter for the region.

“Our entire organization of volunteers is excited to take this next big step in order to create a safe place for people experiencing homelessness during the brutal winter months,“ says Board Chair Peter Starkel.  

The offer is to acquire the building and a small amount of the property around it.  The $50,000 offer includes a deed restriction limiting its use to services for those experiencing homelessness. It also includes a commitment to invest over $1,000,000 in improvements into the building, making it usable as an emergency shelter.

“Despite the damage to the building — including mold, ruptured water lines, dilapidated HVAC and a compromised roof — we feel that this property remains the most viable option for a shelter, given its location to other services, and the fact that it already has a Special Land Use Permit approved for it’s use as a shelter,”  says Starkel. He adds, “The community has been overwhelmingly supportive, and we are confident we can raise the needed funds to open this facility.”

In addition to the purchase offer, Safe Harbor has engaged Northsky Nonprofit Network to review the fundraising plan, help identify major donors and outline the timeline for development.

Traverse City is not the only northern Michigan community that has the need for a shelter.  Big Rapids and Ludington already have facilities.  In both of these cases, the property was made available for use as a shelter by the municipalities they serve. In this proposal, Safe Harbor would purchase the building and operate the valuable community service without financial obligation from the city.

For information on Safe Harbor can be found at


Safe Harbor is a network of 23 churches and over 2,100 volunteers in the Traverse City, Michigan area that educates the community to offer love and dignity to people experiencing homelessness through

emergency shelter, meals and support, in order to move forward in a positive direction in their lives.

Download the Press Release