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Ann Arbor homeless shelter seeking solutions for space crunch

Tony Brown

Ann Arbor's Delonis homeless shelter says it's seeking solutions for a lack of capacity created by funding cuts in 2016. The loss of more than $100,000 in funding forced the shelter to remove 27 beds and close the second floor of its facility. That reduced the shelter's capacity to 50 beds. However, at any given time there are as many as 60 people waiting for beds to open up in the shelter.

"We really want to get these beds back online in some way. There's up to 300 people homeless on any given night. That 300  number includes people in the streets and in shelters," says Kelly.

The shelter also operates a warming center in winter months by throwing down mats in its kitchen and communal areas. Daniel Kelly, the executive director of the shelter, says that the warming center can hold up to about 60 people. Another 25 people occupy shelter space that rotates among local churches. 

Kelly says that although the Delonis Center makes every effort to shelter every homeless person, there have been people sleeping outside in the recent extreme cold weather.

The center is in talks with local partners to secure the needed funding. If successful, they have several options, depending on final agreements with their partners. One option is to simply restore the 27 regular shelter beds. However, Kelly says the center is also considering reopening the second floor as a shelter for people in crisis, or as a space that can house people with medical needs.

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