BY LISA PERKINS
TRAVERSE CITY — The campaign to end homelessness in northern Michigan will take the forefront this week during the observance of National Homeless Awareness week.
"People are homeless here, which is why we are advancing our local plan every day and never lose sight of our goal to end homelessness," said Cheryl Naperala, coordinator of Greater Grand Traverse Continuum of Care, a collaboration of nonprofit, faith-based and governmental groups working to end homelessness in the area.
Local efforts of the Campaign to End Homelessness have resulted in serving 668 people in shelters, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Kalkaska counties.
"Our community is really fortunate to have a lot of wonderful programs that are designed to help these people in need," said Naperala, who is thankful for the involvement of agencies including Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Women's Resource Center, Foundation for Mental Health, Third Level Crisis Intervention Center, Safe Harbor, HomeStretch, Northern Living Nonprofit Housing Inc., Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency and Hollander Development.
Third Level Crisis Intervention Center will recognize National Homeless Awareness Week with events including:
• Pete's Place Open House — 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 15, 2943 Keystone Road. Pete's Place is the only shelter for runaways and homeless youth, ages 14-17, in northern Michigan.
• Homeless Youth Walk — 5:30 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 16. Join area youth in walking through Traverse City to raise awareness about youth homelessness. Preregistration is required by calling Amy at 922-4800.
• Free Community Movie Night — "The Pursuit of Happiness" — 6 p.m. panel discussion followed by the movie at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 18, at the Traverse City State Theatre. Join youth and area agencies in a discussion regarding issues faced by homeless youth and adults in our region.
• Enter to win a Willow Tree Angel's Embrace Ornament — throughout the month of November, Nugent's Hallmark, 3349 S. Airport Road. Bring a hygiene product or non-perishable food donation for distribution by Third Level to homeless youth in the area, and be entered into a drawing to win.