Grand Rapids Officials are partnering with a homeless outreach organization Next Step of West Michigan to offer people holding signs and asking for a handout a chance to work for the day instead. The pilot program began in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has been so successful that Grand Rapids Mayor Roslynn Bliss decided to give it a try here. Next Step program director Jonathan Peerboom says he was skeptical at first, but 90 percent of the people who are offered the work jump at the chance to take it.
Downtown Grand Rapids homeless shelter Degage Ministries is extending its day center’s hours this winter season to help keep people suffering from homelessness warm during the cold months.
“Well with the elements in Michigan we know that the cold weather is coming and its forecasted for this week, and when we serve a vulnerable population it is just so important that they have a place to be and out of the cold weather," Marge Palmerlee, the executive director at Degage Ministries said.