The Harbor and those who work with it are grateful for a recent grant it has received to provide housing for the homeless and the soon-to-be homeless. But, it has also shown them additional needs these people have.
"The three-year grant we received on Dec. 11 from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) helps us provide homes for the working poor," said the Rev. Phil Shyers. "Unfortunately, if these people have already lost their homes all we can do is help them get into a new one and get their utilities turned on. We cannot provide anything to fill the home with, not even a sleeping bag."
Shyers is pastor of Miamiís Apostolic Assembly Church as well as president of the Ottawa County Ministerial Alliance and director of The Harbor, the local emergency shelter.
In the past, The Harbor has helped the homeless find homes, but itís been gradual and the donations The Harbor received were sufficient to help people fill the homes with the items that were needed.
With the grant, Shyers said, "itís like giving the people a box, but with nothing in it.
"For several families we gave them nothing but a warm place. We couldnít even buy them a sleeping bag."
The Harbor and the families would appreciate anything in good shape that the public could donate including furniture, bedding, appliances such as stoves, refrigerators and washers and dryers.
Shyers would like to people to remember what it was like when they got married and had to set up a house.
"You needed everything from furniture to pots and pans to sheets to towels," he said. "Weíd be grateful for the donation of any of these things."
Donations may be dropped off at The Harbor building, located at 114 D. NE, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday.
Volunteers with The Harbor will also pick items up. Call Apostolic Assembly Church at 540-0044 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to make arrangements.
Shyers kept The Harborís office open Friday while the secretary was out for the day.
There was a constant influx of people needing help for a variety of financial problems.
"Things are getting worse here for the poor," he said.