Posted by Chuck Chase
Helen Henricks, president of Share the Warmth shelter at 427 W. Maumee St. (the old Moose Lodge) spoke to us today and said that her father was a Rotarian! She thanked for our past support of the outdoor enclosure as well for the effort serving meals at the shelter every other month. The Noon and Morning clubs, along with folks from the NAACP, Helen said, were the only service organizations helping with this. Others, however, are helping out financially.
Helen refers to it as an emergency shelter since no ID is required nor is a criminal background check. “That is the reason that we can’t serve families”, she said. Rather, they are put up in hotel rooms to assure their safety. Some guests “could still be active in their addictions”. Guests are told they will never be kicked out of the shelter because of their addictions but because of their behavior (threatening or disruptive behaviors). If anyone is asked to leave, they will be off for three days the first time, seven days the second time, and thirty days for the third time. Even then, she said, it is not an automatic return, the individual would have to meet with a staff member and stipulations are imposed.
The shelter operates on an all-volunteer staff except for one paid fulltime employee who is a case manager, she said. She works with setting a number of very small goals for some of the guests and does collaborative work with other agencies like Community Mental Health and Pathways.  
The shelter has been in operation for one year now. Up to that point, 275 people were served representing 13,000 bed nights, 13,000 dinners, 13,000 breakfasts! Capacity at that time was 55 guests per night, Helen said. Total allowed is 60 guests per night. Presently, they have served 292 individuals for a total of 15,000 bed nights and they have had to turn people away, she said. Over 5,000 hours have been provided by volunteers the past year, she said.
Recovery meetings are held on site for guests with addictions. During the Phase 2 building project rooms were added in the downstairs area that included an activity center, office for agency reps to come in and meet with guests, board room and training room for the volunteers. There are also classrooms for budgeting training and a recovery room for meetings with AA representatives and Celebrate Recovery will begin soon there. 
Some people stay for a while, she said. The meals are great and many times there is leftover food that will be distributed to local area food banks and The Daily Bread, Helen said. "We are all extremely proud of Share the Warmth and could have not doe it without the help of Lenawee County. Ninety percent of the money for the building came from Lenawee County.