Daily Bread shelter set to open next summer

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Adrian Design GroupBy Bob Wheaton
ADRIAN, Mich. —

A homeless shelter, soup kitchen and food pantry could be operating by next summer in the former St. John’s Lutheran School.

Work on converting the vacant school at 440 E. Church St. will begin sometime next year, said Kathy Poisson-DeWitt, executive director of The Daily Bread of Lenawee, which is moving into the building.

The Adrian City Planning Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a site plan for the project.

“We’re just absolutely thrilled,” Poisson-DeWitt said following the vote. “It’s going to mean a lot of positive things for people.”

Daily Bread will have more room to serve meals than at its current 302 S. Tecumseh St. location, she said. Plus the additional space will allow the charity to begin running a shelter and a freemedical and dental clinic, she said.

“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up,” she said of Daily Bread’s philosophy.

The first phase of the project, which is expected to be completed next year on the main level of the building, includes turning the school gym into a soup kitchen and converting four classrooms into rooms for homeless families, said project architect Mike Nicklowitz of Adrian Design Group, 126 E. Church?St.

A food pantry also will operate on the main level unless the Daily Bread can get city approval to use a temporary classroom building for that purpose.

Planning commissioners said Tuesday it’s unlikely the charity will be allowed to use the temporary structure on a permanent basis.

Nicklowitz said the second phase — planned for 2011 to 2012 — involves moving the family rooms downstairs and adding more shelter rooms. The facility can have up to 40 residents at a time under planning commission approval.


The second phase also includes the main-floor clinic.

City planners are requiring Daily Bread to have a fence on the west side of the property to screen it from neighboring residential property.

Earlier this month, the planning commission gave Daily Bread a zoning exception permit that it needed for the project.

The Daily Bread has operated a soup kitchen since 2001. The existing soup kitchen would cease operations, but officials said it might be used to train people to work in restaurants.

There will be curfews, and smoking and alcohol or drug use will not be allowed at the shelter, Poisson-DeWit has said.

The soup kitchen could serve 200 or more people at a time. The current location has space to serve 49 people.

Adrian has an expanding number of places that provide emergency overnight housing. The Lenawee County Mission, Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence Shelter and Lenawee Emergency and Affordable Housing Corp. offer shelter, as does the Salvation Army’s winter-only Share the Warmth shelter. The Legacy Housing Project soon will provide permanent homes to seven homeless people.