Our Brother’s Keeper event shines a light on homelessness advocacy

BIG RAPIDS — Our shelter Brother’s Keeper hosted their Survive the Night event with residents on Friday, October 7, in an effort to raise awareness about homelessness.

The event, which invited community members to spend the night at Mitchell Creek Park in Big Rapids, attracted a number of people wishing to make a statement to the community. Some stayed in tents and others in hammocks, and attendees of all ages gathered and enjoyed pizza as a group.

According to a 2021 study, college students in the Mecosta County area are at a higher risk of homelessness compared to the state average.

The study was conducted by the University of Michigan to better understand the educational implications of widespread housing instability across the state. The study used data structured and curated by the MERI-Michigan Education Data Center for the 2009-10 through 2017-18 school years.

The analysis showed that 2.94% of students in Mecosta County face a higher rate of homelessness, compared to 2.2% of students in Michigan State as a whole.

Since 2013, the OBK Shelter has provided temporary housing to many homeless families and single adults, providing assistance to a diverse group of people. Some guests had just gone through difficult times while others suffered from chronic homelessness for various reasons including mental illness, lack of education and lack of life skills.

Located at 405 S. 3rd St. in Big Rapids, OBK’s mission is to provide a step toward self-sufficiency for homeless families and individuals by providing safe, faith-based temporary shelter.

For more information about the shelter and its initiatives, visit www.obkshelter.org.

Robert M. Larson