St. Blase participates in this homeless shelter for one week during the summer months by providing daily meals, a place to sleep and shower, and transportation to jobs, training programs and other day sites. The success of the shelter rests on the response from the parish. Contact Barb Francis through the Parish Office at (586) 268-2244.
Until 1988, many of the homeless from Macomb County were forced to go to Oakland County for shelter due to the lack of sufficient number of overnight shelter beds in our County. At that time, the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team (MCREST) was formed as a coalition of Churches willing to shelter the homeless in their buildings. This coalition of Churches began to provide overnight shelter for homeless persons and/or families during the coldest winter months. During the first year, twenty-three Churches participated in the program and provided for only the very basic needs of the homeless during the most severe weather.
MCREST is unique in that the homeless are actually sheltered in each participating Church, not a permanent shelter building. Linens, beds, and other needed equipment and supplies are provided by the organization and are actually transferred each week from Church to Church by the Churches.
The MCREST Board of Directors continually strives to recruit additional participating Churches. For the 2003 year, we provided shelter for all 52 weeks with 80 Churches actually housing the homeless, with two Churches running concurrently for 32 weeks during the season. Many Churches that house the homeless have other local Churches help with food, transportation and overnight help during their week. During the coldest and hottest months of the year, up to 60 men, women and children of all ages are sheltered every evening.
We have been honored to have a tribute to MCREST published in the Congressional Record of the United States of America to celebrate our tenth anniversary and have recently celebrated our 15th anniversary.
MISSION AND GOALS
MCREST was founded to provide temporary shelter for the homeless in Macomb County who agree to remain alcohol and drug free during their time in the program. Participating Churches agree to open their facilities and their hearts to the homeless for a period of one week per year and provide a safe, clean environment from 6:00 p.m. each evening to 8:00 a.m. each morning. They further agree to provide: three meals per day, showers, and, when possible, laundry assistance and transportation, especially for those who are working. MCREST works with other service organizations in attempting to enable guests to plan for and implement permanent solutions to their situation.
While our dream is to no longer be needed because every person has a home, our experience over the years has taught us that the homeless will be with us for a long time to come. Our goals, therefore, are to be able to provide shelter throughout the year and to provide as many beds as needed for the homeless in Macomb County. Although we provide shelter for 35 to 60 persons almost every night, we are usually full and must turn people away. In May of 1998 MCREST moved into its own building at 145 Colonial Court, Mount Clemens, MI 48043. We have two full-time and one part-time Case Workers, a Program Information Specialist, an Executive Director and most recently, a part-time Case Manager to work with the participants in our Choose A Path (CAP) program. The CAP program is a 90-day program for up to ten participants who work with our Case Manager to set goals and reach outcomes towards self-sufficiency. Measurable outcomes for this program reached 42% for those who obtained housing. The norm is 15% for an emergency shelter.
From the MCREST website.