Safe Harbor revises homeless shelter plan down to 90 beds

Aug 26, 2014

A coalition of churches now hopes to open a shelter in Traverse City with 90 beds sometime early in 2015. Safe Harbor submitted formal paperwork today.

City leaders recently approved new zoning rules that would allow a shelter of up to 100 beds. But some neighbors near this proposed shelter have complained that would be too large for the area.

Safe Harbor Chairman Peter Starkel says the group is responding to concerns.

“I know that the 100 bed issue has been an issue,” he says. “I know that one of the city commissioners has met with some of those concerned citizens and really asked us to strongly go back and review our numbers to see what we can live with, and that 90 beds is what we can live with.”

It’s not clear whether that will be small enough for critics who have suggested a bed count much lower.

Starkel says the churches housed as many as 78 people in a night last year. They project an average of 64 homeless guests a night for the upcoming season.

The request must be approved by the Planning Commission and the City Commission. Safe Harbor proposes using a city-owned building that’s currently vacant on Wellington Street, near the main branch of the Traverse Area District Library.