ROOM AT THE Inn, Marquette’s program that provides lodging, meals, counseling, and warmth for the homeless, has hit a rough patch.
Consider this. In the last couple of months, RATI has…
- Terminated its executive director, Doug Russell.
- Dismissed two paid staff members.
- Lost three members of its board, including Chairman David Payant, Vice Chair Mary Ann Brown, and Mark Canale.
The resignations by the three board members were announced at their last meeting. Different reasons for each of the three.
But Payant’s was telling. “The job requires an incredible amount of work and it’s very stressful,” he explains. “And now there’s some controversy within the group, and at this time in my life, I’m just not into that.”
John Sonderegger was elected new chairman of a board that’s been reduced to only nine members. The search is on for more.
They’re also still looking for a new executive director to replace Russell. In the meantime, board member Mary Jane Lynch has stepped in to manage both the Room at the Inn and the Warming Center.
Tough times. A transitional period, to say the least.
“What’s important is that we are continuing to do good for the people who are most in need,” says Sonderegger, “and I know we’ll be able to stabilize things in the near future.”
Payant agrees. “They’ll get some new people on the board and the problems will get resolved,” he says. “Room at the Inn is financially sound and there’s a lot of good volunteers working at it every day.”
It’s true. It continues to operate effectively. The longer term concern is whether this transitional instability will affect the level of contributions from the community that help sustain Room at the Inn.
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