Shelter Association of Washtenaw County Aids Homeless

Tis the season for giving.

Around the holidays, many people tend to be more generous with their donations to help others. One such organization to consider is the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County. 

“The mission of the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (SAWC) is to end homelessness, one person at a time,” said Sarah Paspal-Jasinski, director of development.  “We mainly serve people of the Washtenaw County area.”

Paspal-Jasinski shared more about the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County and homelessness.

“Around the holidays, people feel isolated, yet hopeful,” Paspal-Jasinski said. “People are wishing they were experiencing food and housing security and not spending the holidays in an institutional setting. There is a great deal of competition for holiday dollars around the holidays. People are generous to us once they have adopted our mission, but many first-time givers want to support children’s charities.”

SAWC has been tackling homelessness and empowering individuals for 40 years. According to Paspal-Jasinski, 238 single adults have been placed in permanent housing through their work with SAWC this past year, and she cited other relevant statistics.

“Forty-nine percent of our clients served had no income upon arrival,” she said. “We have served 12,534 individuals since 2011. 711 individuals have participated in the day and overnight shelter in our Winter Warming Programs, protecting themselves from the brutal outdoor elements. 70% of our clients suffer from mental illness, 35% of our clients are senior citizens, 10% are veterans, and 10% identify as LGTBQ.”

According to the Washtenaw Housing Alliance, in 2020 nearly 2,800 people were homeless and sought emergency shelter. Twenty percent of that number are chronically homeless, experiencing long-long-term homelessness, and living with a disability. Approximately 38% of those have young children.

There are many ways that the public can support SAWC’s efforts.

“Something we are always asking for are donations, which can be made online and securely through our website to support our day-to-day operations,” Paspal-Jasinski described. “There is always more than one way to contribute. We have positions for volunteers and are always in need of in-kind items. As a matter of fact, we do have an Amazon Wishlist and encourage people to visit our website at annarborshelter.org. People interested in volunteering should contact Dawn Gemler at gemlerd@washtenaw.org.”

She said the community has been wonderful with support.

“The response from the community we serve has always been positive,” she described. “We are transforming lives and ending homelessness. We support all individuals when the last safety net fails them.”

They work to help each and every person that they encounter as well.

“No one is turned away here,” she detailed. “Everyone has access to our programs and services. No one will fight harder than SAWC to knock down housing barriers.”

Follow this link to view donation options.