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Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Event aims to raise awareness, inspire action during National Homelessness Awareness Week

Jim Greene stands with a sign reading “equality” prior to the start of the Walk a Mile in Their Shoes event for National Homelessness Awareness Week on Saturday. Before the walk began, participants met at Northern Michigan University’s Berry Events Center to memorialize four people in the local homeless community who have passed away this year, make signs to carry during the walk and donate shoes and boots. The walk took attendees to the First Presbyterian Church on Front Street, which was hosting the rotating overnight Room at the Inn shelter at that time. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

MARQUETTE — To raise awareness of homelessness and inspire local action to address the issue, many area residents participated in the Walk a Mile In Their Shoes event for Homelessness Awareness Week on Saturday morning in Marquette.

“We’re just trying to really get people involved in thinking every day about not only becoming more aware and more informed about the face of homelessness but also ways they can participate, ways they can take action,” said Kim Crane-Frost, co-coordinator of the local Homelessness Awareness Week activities.

Participants met at Northern Michigan University’s Berry Events Center and walked south along Third Street to the First Presbyterian Church along Front Street — which was hosting the rotating Room at the Inn shelter at that time — allowing attendees to see the setup firsthand and get a better idea of what people who work and stay at Room at the Inn experience, Crane-Frost said.

Prior to the walk, attendees took time to memorialize the four people in the local homeless community who have passed away this year. Participants also were able to make signs and donate shoes and boots before the walk, organizers said.

Beyond Saturday’s event, there are many other opportunities to take action and raise awareness this week, Crane-Frost said, noting organizers have developed a schedule of recommended “Daily Do Goods” area residents can take part in on each day of the week to help local people facing homelessness.

The public is also encouraged to take action by reaching out to local officials, Crane-Frost said.

“There’s a couple of things people can do: one is to really push their local officials to take responsibility for homeless residents who are residents of this county — communities all over the state are doing it, and all over the nation. Marquette is such a great city, we should be great in this. We built an amazing animal shelter worth millions, certainly we should have a homeless shelter,” she said. “We need to also move toward affordable housing for people who aren’t necessarily immediately chronically homeless right now but who are doubled up and who are facing a housing crisis.”

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.