Ark Services for Youth

The Ark Shelter

The Ark helps youth and families who are in crisis become stable, develop strong and healthy relationships, and develop positive, achievable goals for the future. The Ark seeks to provide a safe place for youth and families to work on their goals, to reunite youth with their families, to empower youth to identify healthy lifestyle behaviors and to develop positive decision-making skills.

The Ark Shelter is physically located in Kalamazoo but serves youth and their families in nine counties across southwest Michigan. The Ark Shelter is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is always available via the crisis line Which is 1-800-873-8336. The Ark works with runaway youth, homeless youth, and youth in crisis, as well as their families. Youth stay for up to 21 days and will receive individual case management, individual counseling, medical care, and family therapy sessions, as well as daily group sessions. Once the youth is admitted into the program, the youth, family members, and staff develop an individualized person-centered plan with specific goals. Staff work with the entire family to make progress on those goals while at The Ark -- and for up to 90 days afterward. If needed, Ark staff make referrals to partner agencies and help youth and families get the help they need to succeed.

Services are also provided in the community and any family can request a remote assessment, with staff coming to you to discuss the program and see if we can help!

Outreach Services

Community Outreach - We offer prevention services to youth who are precariously housed in their own community. Youth and families in crisis can access up to 90 days of prevention and outreach services. Staff travel to the youth's home in any of the nine counties we serve -- Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St Joseph, or Van Buren. Staff provide personalized and intensive services and help connect the family to long-term resources. The youth (and family) develop specific goals and work with case managers to achieve those goals, building stability and self-sufficiency in the process.

Drop-in Centers – Drop-Ins are offered in all nine counties -- contact us at 269-381-9800 to learn when they will occur as times and locations vary each month. Homeless/Runaway youth between the ages of 10 -21 may stop by these events for free food, personal care items, clothing items, one-on-one consultation with a case manager, and referrals to community resources. You may also contact us if you are an organization willing to host a Drop-In event.

Community Education Staff members are available to come to your school or organization to provide information about all the services offered by The Ark. The Outreach team can also assist youth ages 10-21 with finding shelter, food, hygiene products and clothing along with helping them access public resources. We can personalize these sessions to any audience and encourage you to call us to learn more.

Monthly Outreach Drop-In Centers and Events

Every Tuesday from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, youth ages 10-21 can drop-in at the Catholic Community Center, 346 Catalpa, Benton Harbor, MI

School Year 2023-2024 Drop-Ins:

Plainwell HS- Every third Wednesday of the month from 10:30 am -11:30 am (unless there is a holiday/school cancellation).

Allegan HS- Every second Thursday of the month from 9:00 am -10:00 am. Times will alternate every other month between 9:00 am - 10:00 am & 12:00 pm -1:30 pm

Marshall HS - One Friday a month (tbd) at 10:30 am 

Ministry with Community - Every Monday from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Other Events in April:


Youth Independent Living (YIL)

Homeless youth ages 16-21 are connected to our fully furnished transitional housing for up to 18 months. During their time in the program, each youth works with a case manager to develop a plan that will promote their independence. Plans may include finding permanent housing, education, employment, life skills, and other areas as needed.

Each week we offer life skills classes and leadership opportunities for the youth to help them learn valuable skills and we then provide them with opportunities to practice those skills.

Residents living in our Youth Independent Living housing will be required to attend school and/or be employed and are expected to adhere to a list of house rules put in place to guide them towards success.

To learn more -- or to apply for the program -- please call us at 269-381-9800 or email us at


Application for YIL Program

Permanent Supportive Housing

The Ark Cottages include nine units for older homeless youth, ages 18-24 when entering the program. Youth create a housing plan and receive services to help them be successful in their new home. The Ark Cottages were built in 2011 and designed to provide safe and comfortable homes to youth, be energy efficient and sustainable, lasting for the long term and minimizing operations cost. Special "green" design feature include: specialized insulation, geothermal heating and cooling system, energy star qualified windows and glass doors, air infiltration barriers, native trees and landscape plants, energy star lighting fixtures, daylight sensors on outdoor light fixtures.

The Ark Cottages are operated by Gardner Group. For more information or to receive a tour, call 1-800-323-7740.



Gardner Group