Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM) and Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) have opened two housing units at an undisclosed location on Grand Rapids' West side for men who are transitioning from the MTM shelter.
ICCF is the owner and property manager while leasing the two homes to MTM, which will continue to mentor the men in their new living surroundings. Combined, the two homes have a capacity of housing five men.
"We just really respect the work that ICCF does and we knew that they had some homes they have purchased and we thought it be great if we could bring our core competencies to the table and their core competencies as wonderful landlords and see what the impact is," said Adrienne Goodstal, MTM vice president of programs. We reached out to them and the rest is history. Now we have two individual homes we have for our men."
Single men eligible to live in the homes first must have completed one of MTM's programs, such as job readiness, housing readiness or a recovery program, and have a steady income stream to afford the rent that ranges from $350 to $425 a month. Tenants pay their own utilities.
Independent living is the goal
Tenants will be provided aftercare services through a MTM advocate staff, to help ensure they are continuing to work toward complete independent living with the tools they need to be successful.
"They can live there for a year and during that time they can save money, get some of those independent skills and a history of good rental," said Goodstal. "Some of our folks are coming either with a poor rental history or no rental history at all so at the end of the year, they've got those skills that they need, they've got good rental history and they can then move into permanent housing."
Goodstal added at the end of the year, the next step is to help the men move into permanent housing.
ICCF CEO Ryan VerWys said the two organizations agreed to collaborate because each nonprofit brings its own unique skills to the table to solve the identical problem.
"No single organization can solve the problem of homelessness alone and that's one reason we're thrilled to work in collaboration with Mel Trotter Ministries on this project," said VerWys.
Dignified and empowering
"Our goal is always to provide a dignified and empowering way to help individuals and families leave homelessness for good," said Dennis Van Kampen, CEO of MTM. "This project is an example of the power of collaboration to make a greater impact."
And that future will more than likely include partnerships with other organizations, according to Goodstal.
"We are always looking to be good stewards of the resources God blesses us with, so when we are providing something in the best capacity, I think that's through partnerships," said Goodstal. "We're both faith-based organizations and so we align in that way. We don't only just partner with faith-based organizations but that's certainly an important piece to us, that alignment, to ensure we're serving the least of these because that's what Jesus did."