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Public-private coalition working on emergency homeless shelter in Heartside

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Posted at 8:04 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 20:04:10-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A coalition of community, nonprofit and business leaders is working to provide safe emergency shelter for residents of the Heartside neighborhood who are experiencing homelessness.

The group, led by Mel Trotter Ministries and Guiding Light and including the City of Grand Rapids and Kris Elliott of Evergreen Companies, has leased space at 250 Ionia Ave. SW, a news release said Tuesday.

Experts say as many as 100 adults could be looking for housing every night in the coming winter months.

Work has begun to transform the space into a warming center and overnight shelter for those experiencing homelessness, many of whom are currently staying in tents in Heartside Park and other locations around the city.

RELATED: City of Grand Rapids considers Homeless Outreach Team expansion

“I am happy for the City to be a partner in this project,” Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington said. “It is not safe for people to live on the streets and in our parks. Expanding emergency shelter and providing a warm place during the day will ensure the safety of our most vulnerable residents.”

The public-private partnership is looking for funds to offset the costs of rent, utilities and refurbishment.

Tax-free donations can be made online to Mel Trotter Ministries or Guiding Light.