Man gets support from Harbor Hall

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:58 AM

The 46-year-old has found a safe harbor at Love INC’s Harbor Hall, a program that aims to give people a new lease on living independently.

“It is a blessing," Sellers said. "It’s a great opportunity to be able to focus on getting independent again. My goal is to get independent and put some roots down in the community.”

There is room for 22 men at the Grand Haven facility.

“I am originally from Kansas and I had lived in a shelter there,” Sellers said. “I knew I’d have a living situation where I would not have a place to go.”

Knowing he’d have some living difficulties, Sellers began to seek assistance. He said he found out about the Harbor Hall opportunity through various connections while seeking assistance at Love INC in Grand Haven.

St. Patrick's Catholic Church referred him to Love INC for a food voucher, and that's when Sellers first heard about the shelter and its program, Harbor Hall coordinator Ben Hyink said.

“He was without work and about to be homeless,” Hyink said.

Sellers notes that it is good to have a structured environment in order to help get his life back on track.

Sellers said the biggest difference between what he’s experienced in the Love INC program versus other homeless shelters is that Harbor Hall provides "structure."

“You just don’t get that at a homeless shelter," he said. "Harbor Hall is going to help you move up. They give you the goals and a desire to do better.”

Sellers said there simply aren’t many opportunities for him. He said he appreciates that there was a structure that involved job seeking, volunteerism, living arrangements and financial counseling — in addition to having a meal and a roof over his head.

“The reason we’re all in this is because we’re lacking some skill or there is something that we need to learn,” Sellers said.

Sellers said his missing skill was looking at where he fits in with the rest of society.

“Now, I am finding I have talents and skills that could help others," he said.

During his time at Harbor Hall, Sellers works as a volunteer at the Love INC General Store on Robbins Road.

“It is interesting to see all the different walks of life that come through here,” he said at the store. “Walking around Grand Haven, that would’ve never happened.”

Through this work, Sellers is also able to network with people who might be able to get him a job so that he can become independent.

“Basically, what we’re trying to do with volunteering is simulate a day of work,” Hyink explained.

Hyink said the program makes a big impact on the lives of the men who have been involved in it.

“Seeing potential become reality is very gratifying,” he said.

Hyink said they look for program participants who want to be involved and are willing to make a commitment.

“What we’re looking for is someone who is excited about finding work,” he said.

Sellers said the program isn’t for everyone.

“It’s not for the people that need it, it’s for the people that want it,” he said. “You’ve got to be humble to be able to appreciate it.”

Hyink noted that the reason men are living at the facility varies from person to person.

“A lot of guys have been hit hard because of the economy," he said. "They lost a job at no fault of their own. Some people have just made bad choices.”

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