GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A local emergency shelter now has the capacity to house 100 women per night, during a time when more seniors are searching for a roof over their heads.

Two years ago, Degage Ministries’ downtown Grand Rapids campus used to be able to serve an average of 33 women a night at the Open Door women’s emergency shelter space. Now with its new expansion, the only emergency overnight shelter for women in Grand Rapids can and does accommodate about 100 women per night. A third of those women are 55 years or older.

Degage Ministries said that the shelter is seeing more senior women than ever before because of “a massive increase in evictions, pandemic-related mental health crises and current economic conditions, among other things,” said a news release.

The influx in seniors presents certain challenges for Degage Ministries.

“The increase in seniors in emergency shelter means that we are tending to all the issues you would expect when serving people who are more physically fragile: a need for mobility aids, increased risk of falling, and more personal and hygiene care support,” said Degage Ministries Executive Director Thelma Ensink in a news release.

As part of the expansion, new bunk beds were installed. But Degage said capacity is still an issue.

“It’s been tough,” wrote Senior Program Director Julie Kendrick in the release. “We are using every single inch of available space for overnight shelter. We are all too aware of the fact that, if we turn someone away, they will be sleeping in the cold, so we find more room. We buy more beds. We figure it out.”

Degage Ministries always accepts financial donation to help cover the needs of the shelter. The Open Door program accepts toiletry and personal care donations such as shampoo, body wash and sanitary products. You can learn more at the Degage Ministries website.