Flint, MI—Homeless children staying at the Shelter of Flint will have a brand new playscape thanks to a $7,500 grant from the Child Welfare Society. 

The shelter plans to remove some outdated equipment and replace it with durable, safe composite materials. There are also plans to install toddler-friendly swings. 

“Our playground is aging, we have equipment that is made of wood and metal, and we want to create a safer, more welcoming environment,” Development Director Shelly Hoffman said.  

The Shelter of Flint can sleep 75 individuals and 60% percent of residents at any given time are children, President and CEO Linda Bielskis said. 

“It’s so challenging, and potentially traumatizing, for these youngsters to live in a congregate shelter. The playground provides a much-needed opportunity for the children to simply enjoy themselves.” 

Since the pandemic, the shelter has taken in more single mothers than it has previously, Hoffman said. 

“There are a lot of women who are fleeing domestic violence situations and shelters devoted specifically to that are full,” she said. 

A typical stay at the shelter ranges from 30-90 days. “During that time we work with the people in our care to make sure they have the support they need to move into permanent and stable housing, and we have a pretty high success rates of doing that,” Hoffman said. 

The design is still in the works and the shelter is considering a few different firms for the job. The project is expected to be completed by spring, Hoffman said. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...