Room at the Inn plans new warming center in Marquette

MARQUETTE – People needing to get out of frigid winter weather or simply needing a hot breakfast soon will have a welcoming place to those and more.

A new Room At The Inn Warming Center is expected to open by January at 447 W. Washington St., said Doug Russell, the group’s executive director.

Room At The Inn serves several functions, Russell said, one of which is a homeless shelter that rotates between churches weekly from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily September through May. The organization just started its seventh season.

It also has a warming center open from 6 to 10 a.m. at Faith in Christ Church at Third and Ridge streets, a space it’s outgrown, Russell said.

However, a warming center still is needed, he said.

“When the guests leave the shelter in the morning, they come to the warming center,” Russell said.

Room At The Inn, which operates on donations, has a new spot planned for the warming center. The Cliffs Foundation, the charitable arm of Cliffs Natural Resources Michigan Operations, recently presented a check for $160,000 to help start the new facility.

“It’s good for our community and the people that live here,” said Jennifer Huetter, Cliffs district manager of public affairs.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette also awarded $1,000 to Room At The Inn from its Catholic Extension Lumen Christi program that honors “hidden heroes” of the Catholic Church.

Russell said the warming center will offer a community breakfast every morning Monday through Friday.

The front room will have tables and chairs for people, according to Russell.

“I call it a little cafe,” he said.

A shower also will be in the facility and the back of the building will have a resource room with computers for guests to use to obtain self-sufficiency. There also will be a courtyard outside the back of the building so the guests can have privacy.

The new warming center will allow Room At The Inn to meet more of the demand from people needing what it offers, Russell said.

“Our guests come from all sorts of situations,” he said. “There’s no rhyme or reason for them. It’s fortunate for them Room At The Inn exists.”

Russell said Room At The Inn will conduct more fundraising efforts over the next three years to buy the building on West Washington and make renovations. The organization needs to raise $125,000 to complete the project.

He said the city of Marquette and Marquette County also must approve a floor plan, and expects renovations to begin by November. He said he hopes the center will be ready by January.

Anyone wishing to donate to Room At The Inn can send a check to 347 Rock St., Marquette, MI 49855.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is