HOLLAND, Mich. – The Holland Rescue Mission says they’re over capacity: since Tuesday they are sheltering more people than beds. The Rescue Mission says 84 people slept there Tuesday night, taking at least six new families in.
“I had six housing calls yesterday and I started telling people yesterday that at this point I don’t even have mattresses on the floor to offer. I’ve just got a floor,” Linda Bazan, Women’s Emergency Shelter leader with the Holland Rescue Mission.
Bazan says she hasn’t seen this many people in 20 years, saying the extreme cold is one factor, but the nation-wide issue of under-employment is another.
FOX 17 spoke with a young mother of four who has been living at the Rescue Mission with her children for two months. She did not want to be named, but says she’s working a temporary factory job to buy time to finish her education. She says, “it’s really hard to find a job and keep a job if the daycare’s only open from 8 in the morning until 4 (in the afternoon).”
Another mother, Stephanie Moore, and three-month-old son have been living at the Rescue Mission since July. Stephanie is half-way through an in-house residential program there that focuses on life-skills, providing classes on topics ranging from parenting to money-management.
“I was kind of like a runner, I ran from a lot of things,” explains Moore.
Moore says she’s looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel: her graduation in May. Then she hopes to earn a full-time job and a more permanent home to make things right for her and her infant son.
“When you hear that word ‘mission,’ it’s not what people think it is. It’s clean, it’s homey. It’s what you make of it. I encourage people if you want a life change, this is where you can get it,” says Moore.