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Mel Trotter: Formerly Homeless Women Get Second Chance

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Mel Trotter Ministries

With one success under their belt, Mel Trotter Ministries is rolling out another transitional house, this time for women who are experiencing homelessness.  Last year there was housing for youth… this year, the ministry has established “Melanie House.” 

“It is almost impossible for some of our folks to find rentals they can afford on the bus lines so they can get to work; so this is an important step for the community.”

And that step, says Mel Trotter CEO, Dennis Van Kampen, is the opening of a new transition house… this one for women.  It’s the Mel Trotter “Melanie House”.   Van Kampen says it’s similar to the youth house they opened last year.

“We offer that to some of our guests. In this case, females who have graduated one of our programs, either the step up recovery program or the job or housing readiness program. It offers them a step back into eventually, home ownership for themselves. So, Its a transitional living environment where they pay rent and still case managed and they can work and save money until they can finally get a house of their own.”

Van Kampen says the Melanie House, much like the youth house, is needed in Grand Rapids, especially he says with the city’s tight rental market.

“So what happens is, when we have people getting their lives back together, and they’re trying to move forward out of homelessness, one of their biggest obstacles is to be able to afford rent.  So, this is an opportunity for us to say, we can provide that transitional step for you at a rent you can afford, and then they can save money and move on from there.”

The Melanie House is located in an undisclosed location on the southeast side.  It has three private rooms, two bathrooms and a dining area.  One of the tenants serves as an on-site resident assistant.  The idea is to help tenants connect in their new neighborhood, build credit history, navigate transportation and set goal for long term housing.

“It’s just an opportunity for our guests to feel valued, to have something of their own and then to move forward in the next step of their journey.”

There are still some items needed for the home.  If you’re interested in helping, you can go to meltrotter.org/needs.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.