The Pope Francis Center will continue providing food, shelter, medical and social services to the homeless through June 1 at the TCF Center.
The temporary move was scheduled to end April 1.
Staying in TCF for two additional months will allow the Pope Francis Center to continue taking care of the homeless in Detroit during what is often a cold, wet spring, says Executive Director Fr. Tim McCabe.
The Pope Francis Center moved to the TCF Center from its facility at 438 St. Antoine St. last November. The larger space allows it to follow COVID-19 federal and state guidelines and protect guests from the elements.
Since then, the Center has served nearly 200 people a day.
Guests enter the facility each day through a private entrance, have their temperatures checked and are escorted to an area with a dedicated ventilation system, allowing for containment from other TCF Center activities. Guests are welcome to stay until 1 p.m. each day and longer during extreme weather conditions.
The COVID pandemic has been a crisis within a crisis for Detroit’s homeless. Many are in poor health and their access to food, shelter, water and medical care makes them one of the most vulnerable populations.
There were 2,535 homeless people in Detroit in 2019, according to a point-in-time count conducted the Detroit Continuum of Care, the Homeless Action Network of Detroit, and the City of Detroit. A point-in-time count provides a snapshot of the number of homeless.
According to that data, 565 were persons in families (193 adults and 372 children); 1,296 were single adults under 24 years old; 103 were youth ages 18-24, and one was an unaccompanied youth under 18. In addition, 280 were chronically homeless and 290 were veterans.
The Pope Francis Center is the only day shelter in Detroit to provide extensive temporary services on a large scale to nearly 200 guests per day. People without homes are given two made-from scratch nutritious meals, laundry and shower facilities and rotating medical, dental and legal clinics and housing assistance five days a week.
“We are thankful we can use TCF Center to serve people on the streets of Detroit until the weather warms up,” McCabe says. “But we need assistance meeting the financial burdens of serving additional people through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A $100,000 grant from the McGregor Fund will fund one-third of costs of staying at TCF through June 1 at TCF Center. Fundraising continues to cover remaining expenses. To donate visit popefranciscenter.org/donate.
“The ongoing need for a safe, comfortable place and these essential services during the pandemic is clear,” says Kate Levin Markel, president, McGregor Fund. “Our community cannot risk a break in operations at TCF, and the McGregor Fund is pleased to be able to provide a down payment toward those expenses.”
Patrick S. Bero, CEO/CFO, Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, says partnering with Pope Francis Center this winter and spring was the best use of the center’s space during the pandemic.
“We are grateful to have the ability to continue to respond to the needs of the Pope Francis Center and the community during these unprecedented times,” he says. “Our staff and the Authority Board have made it possible for us to function as a temporary home for the Pope Francis Center while we continue to rebuild our core business.”
On April 15, supporters of the Pope Francis Center are invited to “attend” the center’s annual Building Bridges gala and auction event, either in the comfort of their own homes or at the Detroit Foundation or Shinola Hotel. Proceeds from the event will help PCF give Detroit’s homeless transitional housing, a 40-unit facility to be called Bridge Housing.
For tickets to the gala/auction visit popefranciscenter.org/gala