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our team

From the President/CEO…

I have one very important question to ask: If you knew how to help, would you?

This is something that weighs heavily on my heart every day. So many people ask me how they can “help” those whom we are called to serve. I am always extremely appreciative that folks want to know the answer, that they are curious and open enough to ask it in the first place. The truth is, just like there is no one reason a person finds themselves experiencing homelessness, there is also not just one way to offer help.

Because we have the blessing of being in close proximity to underserved and unhoused individuals in our community every day, we understand that answering the question of “How can I help?” begins with intentionality. We must be intentional in our approach.

I’d like to share with you the ways in which we are continuing to evolve in our services and our approaches. But first a reminder as to why we do this. We believe everyone is made in the image of a God who has plans for their life—plans that do not include homelessness—therefore we seek to demonstrate the compassion of Christ and build better communities. That is our why.

Every individual deserves to be shown dignity, be reminded they have inherent value, and live a life free from homelessness. We intentionally do this by focusing on three areas:

  1. Prevention and Diversion. By going upstream and making every effort to prevent and divert individuals from entering into the system, not only will hundreds of children never know what it feels like to sleep in a car or under a bridge, but cycles will begin to be broken. Data shows that when children experience homelessness three or more times before age 18, they are 85% more likely to become homeless as an adult. We are purposefully pouring resources, staffing, and strategies into this crucial area.
  2. Guest Services. Through efforts like our Immeasurably More Capital Campaign, our main location at 225 Commerce Ave. is being completely renovated to provide more dignity and safety for our guests. Gone are the days when those experiencing homelessness will stay in a room with 112 other individuals who are also in the midst of uncertainty and trauma. We now have smaller, dorm-style rooms where specialized case managers are very intentionally walking alongside guests to provide them with relationship and resources so they can leave homelessness more quickly and permanently.
  3. Jobs and Housing. We are intentionally investing heavily in our workforce development program at Next Step of West Michigan, providing individuals with both life and work skills that will allow them to complete training and immediately secure jobs that pay livable wages. Along with employment opportunities, we are also intentionally building affordable home options which will help guests on their journey out of homelessness and into homeownership.

Friends, the ways in which to help are in place. Often I think we believe there is so much to do, that our individual help won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I’m here to tell you—it does. Every day I see guests with huge smiles on their faces, telling me they did it! They are stable and out of this difficult season of their life.

One life at a time, one intentional next step at a time, we can do this. Will you join me in helping?

Thank you for being here. We cannot do this work alone!

Grace and peace,

Dennis

Executive Leadership Team

Beth Fisher

Chief Advancement Officer

(616) 588-8754

Adrienne Goodstal

Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer

(616) 588-8792

Syd Harvey

Chief Operations Officer

(616) 588-8793

Gordon Oosting

Chief Financial Officer

(616) 454-8249

Our Team

Advancement

Seth McLaughlin

Director of Development

(616) 588-8782

Advancement

Tim Swiney

Chief Campaign Officer

(616) 588-8764

Data and Finance

Amanda Afman

Financial Controller

(616) 588-8721

Data and Finance

Joe Botting

Director of Grants

(616) 588-8757

Operations

Jeff Dashner

Senior VP of Operations

(616) 588-8786

Operations

Scott Jewell

Senior Director of Properties & Facilities

(616) 588-8789

Operations

Matt Stone

Senior Director of Technology

(616) 588-8725

Prevention & Diversion

Domineca Montalvo

 Director of Diversion

(616) 278-4102

 

Shelter Services

Tyler Kregel

Director of Outreach

(616) 914-3569

Shelter Services

Lori Lynn

Senior Director of Clinical Services & Medical Outreach

(616) 588-8760

Shelter Services

Saulo Montalvo

Director of Intake Services

(616) 588-8788

Staff Ministry

Leonard McElveen

 VP of Staff Ministry

(616) 588-8703

Transitional Housing and Jobs

David Bult

Executive Director, Next Step of West Michigan

(616) 208-1070

Transitional Housing and Jobs

Allie Whiteman

Director of Housing

(616) 588-8731

Transforming Lives

“I thank you all for everything,” he says of the food, shelter and support he’s received from Mel Trotter and its family of donors. He adds that "he will continue to be patient, stay positive and put God first and make the most of the opportunity he’s received.“

Damien

Damien* arrived in Grand Rapids by bus from Memphis, Tennessee, with no one and no place to welcome him. At the station, a local experiencing homelessness told Damien about Mel Trotter Ministries. Damien needed a nourishing meal and a safe night of rest and received these essentials and much more as he began to share his story with Mel Trotter staff.

*name and photos changed to protect the privacy of our guests.

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