The Mariners Inn: providing for homeless people and drug abusers

Being homeless or having a drug problem is a very difficult situation for the person, friends, and family. It is a spiral where people get so involved that it is just very difficult to get out of it.

According to Yosef Meystel statistics from researches, in Detroit, the drug problem and the homelessness problem has risen to levels never imagined before. Fortunately, there are places and people willing to help. One of those places is at 445 Ledyard St Detroit, Michigan and its name is the Mariners Inn.  They have been helping people in need since 1925 and here is their brief story and some of the services they provide.


Image courtesy of Mariners Inn at

What the Mariners Inn does is to help people that are fighting homelessness and substance abuse by giving them social services that take the best out of them and have the best possible results. They provide 24-hour residential treatments for drug users and for adult homeless people and are focused on providing a really good and complete therapeutic environment.

The story started back in the year 1925 in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan and it was the first licensed, full-service treatment center that took care of homeless people and tried to help with substance abuse.  The Mariners Inn was first called the Detroit Protestant Episcopal City Mission Society. In the year 1934, the headquarters moved to a building owned by the Board of Trustees of Mariners’ Church and it was redesigned to make it a hotel type of shelter where housing, food, and clothing were given to people that were in real need.  In 1955 the building was used for another purpose and the Mariners Inn moved to Cass and Ledyard.  As for today, the Mariners Inn is a very well-known center that has professional approaches that actually work. The  Mariners Inn is legally running with all the certificates and the permits that are needed and it is considered a residential and outpatient treatment centre  that answers to the Office of Substance Abuse Services for the State of Michigan Department of Public Health and it has the certification and support of the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

As for their mission, it is to give people a complete and really good substance abuse approach so they can become law-abiding citizens, gain their confidence back and their independence from their substance or problem.


Image courtesy of mark O’Rourke at

So how do they do it? They think that recovery is real and here are some of their programs for people to come to life again:


This is where most people start in order to go to the Mariners Inn. They receive people starting at the age of 18 and they handle very complex problems such as trauma, developmental disabilities, economic problems, legal problems, loss, miseducation or lack of it and many other things that come with the streets.

As for the treatment, it consists of 12 steps, interviews, behavioral therapy, artistic expression and many other disciplines and activities designed to restore self-confidence and social behavior.  The curriculum is aimed at topics that really give men the opportunity to be part of society again such as how to be a parent, good relations, HIV, how addictions work, anger management and many other topics that really address the problem.


Another service that the Mariners provides is the alternative therapy that uses art to heal all the problems men take to the shelter. The art program objective is to give men a way to express themselves and to let go of emotions and fears by using the tools they need to produce any type of artistic expression that comes from their creativity.  The program is managed by a tutor but there are free open hours for people that wish to continue with their art for more hours than normal.

As part of the art program, the Mariners Inn has a Choir where they get the people involved in creating music that brings wellness and reduces stress. The Choir is very good for people that don’t make healthy  brain connections and with communication problems  

This program was designed by two volunteers with a music class given every week for the people in other programs at the Mariners Inn.  It then went to be a very big program with presentations in the Grosse Pointe Rotary Club and the St. John Open Arms Program’s yearly grief memorial.


Taking care of a garden has amazing benefits that can give people the understanding of the soil and earth and the space around them. It teaches patience, enhances imagination, sparks anticipation and gives people a sense self-pride and self-confidence.  The Urban Garden, called Growing Dreams, became part of the Grown in Detroit cooperative which gave the people involved the chance to learn about retail and many other topics related to gardening.

Be sure to also read this amazing post about philanthropy in Ohio and what they are doing to make it better every day.