Minister seeks community support for new Kalamazoo homeless shelter

Posted at 4:39 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 21:13:03-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It’s been a busy year and half for David McCurtis. He runs his own construction company and spends his free time feeding homeless men and women through his charity organization, The McCurtis Outreach Ministry.

“I have compassion for people,” said McCurtis during an interview in an empty room above an old convenience store near downtown Kalamazoo. “I like to help people. It's something I have the desire to do, is help people get to the next level.”

For the 48-year-old, the next level in his charity was to build them a shelter. He found the perfect place for it on Riverview and Bridge Streets. The old, abandoned Family Dollar there hasn't been occupied for months, especially its upstairs space. He looked at it and hoped to fill it with beds.

“We got it on faith,” said McCurtis about the space.  "I was connected with the right person at the right time, that God opened up a door.”

Currently, there's a lot of chatter about what the old convenience store will be turned into. The Kalamazoo Eastside Neighborhood Association said some people would like to see a grocery store there. While others are hoping the space can be utilized as  an educational and professional training center for the youth in the community. McCurtis said he's focused on the large open room upstairs, which officially became his during the summer of 2015.  Since then, McCurtis and a handful of volunteers have been working on it around the clock. They've gutted the place, threw out the trash inside and started putting up walls. He's since spent $60,000 of his own money to keep the project going.

“We’re going to have 15 to 21 rooms available,” said McCurtis who is also a minister. “They’re going to have access to a washer and dryer. They’re going to have access to a computer, be able to look up applications, jobs.”

There will also be a TV in every room and a communal kitchen, he said. He also plans on having job-training sessions and speakers come in to deliver inspiring speeches. His goal is to get them back on their feet.

“It’s real desperate,” said McCurtis describing the homeless problem in Kalamazoo. “You have a lot of unfortunate people who gave up on life, who don’t have hope.”

McCurtis wants to give it back to them. But recently he said money’s been running out. He’d like to open the shelter by Christmas and knows he’ll need thousands of dollars to get it done. But he's strong in his faith and believes it’ll all come together in the end.

“We’re not putting no number on it,” McCurtis said about the donations. “Whatever God blesses us to get, whatever God touch somebody heart to give, we’ll be grateful to receive that.”

If you'd like to make a donation, visit his website.