GR shelter sees 40% increase in single women needing help

Posted at 9:09 AM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 09:10:15-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Mel Trotter Ministries has experienced a 40 percent increase of single women seeking emergency shelter over the last year. In addition to youth and family homelessness, single women are one of the fastest growing homeless populations in greater Grand Rapids.

Many of the women seeking shelter are living with mental illness or are survivors of domestic violence or other traumatic situations.

Typically, the 25 beds designated for single women at Mel Trotter Ministries are enough to accommodate the need, however, in an effort not to turn anyone away, Mel Trotter has been using an overflow gym with mattresses placed on the floor.

The need for more beds will be even more significant as the weather turns colder and Mel Trotter serves upwards of 500 men, women and children each night in winter.

Mel Trotter Ministries is asking for community support to raise $25,000 by October 31. The funds will help build and purchase custom wooden beds, replace old mattresses, and supply new linens and pillows.

“It is difficult for a woman who is suffering to hear that they are made in the image of God and believe that they are loved and valued while sleeping on a mattress on the cold the floor,” said Dennis Van Kampen, CEO of Mel Trotter Ministries. “As winter approaches, we believe our sisters in Christ deserve more dignity and we’re asking our generous community to join us in this effort.”

Next Step of West Michigan – a nonprofit that provides work for individuals coming out of prison and rehab – has taken on the project of building 54 beds for the Mission. The beds will be delivered to the Mission at the end of October.

“All of us at Next Step are thankful for the good work Mel Trotter is doing in our community,” said Scott Jonkhoff, Founding Director. “The opportunity to build bunks beds for the women’s shelter is a great encouragement to us and we pray for those who will use these beds, that they may find rest for both body and soul.”

Donations can be made at

Any money raised beyond the designated goal will help replace and upgrade other beds throughout the Mission and support operations and expenses for the Mission.