Ann Arbor homeless shelter for families in need of volunteers, supplies amid COVID-19 pandemic

Alpha House is at 4290 Jackson Rd.
Alpha House is at 4290 Jackson Rd. (Alpha House)

ANN ARBOR – The Interfaith Hospitality Network at Alpha House, a homeless shelter for families just off Jackson Rd., is in need of volunteers, supplies and funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alpha House has been serving local families experiencing homelessness since 1992. It started as a weekly rotation where local religious congregations would shelter and feed families in need. In 2001, Alpha House moved into a permanent building that was formerly a Saint Joseph Mercy Health System rehabilitation center.

One wing of the building is a shelter which houses six families at a time, while the other wing is for administrative use.

The organization relies heavily on volunteers to cook and serve meals at the facility and play with resident children.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, contact has been limited.

“It’s a scary time for our families," said Alpha House development director Lisa Ziske. “They have small children and they’re homeless. It’s been hard on our families because a lot of them do work and they’re in the service industry, which puts them at a higher risk of catching this virus. But right now, everyone is healthy.”

Ziske said that everyone who enters the building has to have their temperature checked and staff are regularly sterilizing the facility.

The shelter has two family rooms for families to gather and watch movies. Now, only one family is allowed in at a time and the space is sterilized before another family comes in.

Ziske said the families are practicing social distancing as best they can, especially at meal times.

With minimal staff and volunteers on site, Ziske said that the shelter is in need of help.

“We are in need of volunteers on several levels," she said.

The shelter is in need of meals and basic items like medicine, batteries and laundry detergent. Alpha House has an Amazon Wishlist that can be viewed here.

Want to help?

For volunteer opportunities, contact volunteer coordinator Mark Heffner at mheffner@alphahouse-ihn.org.

To make a donation, click here.

For more information about Alpha House, visit www.alphahouse-ihn.org.

Alpha House is at 4290 Jackson Rd.

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