Winter at Delonis
Dan Kelly gets the warming shelter ready.
From the December, 2017 issue
Shelter Association of Washtenaw County director Dan Kelly, hired last spring to replace veteran leader Ellen Schulmeister, is preparing for his first big challenge: winter.
The warming center--a kind of shelter within the shelter--opened in mid-November. Essentially a large room with cots, it offers overnight stays to just about anyone who shows up. That includes people previously kicked out of the main Delonis Center shelter for violating rules against substance abuse or violence. On very cold nights, homeless advocates also try to bring in mentally fragile people who normally feel safer staying in sleeping bags under bridges. On the busiest nights last year, the warming center hosted some sixty-five clients.
A thirty-three-year-old social worker, Kelly brings "new energy" to the shelter, says Avalon Housing executive director Aubrey Patino. He unwinds from the stressful job with hiking and travel--when the Observer called with follow-up questions, he was on his way to Patagonia.
When he returns, he'll be following weather reports closely, knowing that when it's cold outside, Delonis will heat up.
[Originally published in December, 2017.]
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