Leaders of a local program are reminding those without a place to stay that they can find refuge at their centers during the cold, winter months.

The Severe Weather Network Homeless Center of Livingston County (SWN) is a collaborative effort between The Salvation Army, The Oakland Livingston Human Service agency (OLHSA), and local churches. The program provides a meal, fellowship, and overnight stays for homeless individuals, January through March. Those seeking short-term shelter are asked to contact OLHSA, which will direct them to the host church of the month and have them placed on the guest list. The program also connects its guests with community action agencies to aid in the transition into affordable housing.

The effort began at Centerpointe Church in Howell about a year ago and has since expanded to include other churches, agencies, and volunteers. Pastor Chad Gibbons says there is a great need for a homeless shelter in Livingston County, especially during this time of the year. The SWN reports there were 1,003 documented occurrences of homeless individuals in Livingston County in 2016, including 445 students and 51 veterans.

Gibbons says the program can always use help in the form of volunteers or by way of donations. Anyone interested in contributing is asked to contact Chilson Hills Church in Brighton at (810)227-9596. Individuals seeking referrals to the warming centers are asked to contact OLHSA at (517)546-8500. (DK)