Grand Rapids, Mich. (Apr. 13, 2023) – Mel Trotter Ministries, the largest provider of services to people experiencing homelessness in West Michigan, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 27, 2023 to mark the completion of a visionary renovation project that will deliver enhanced services and accommodations to individuals and families in our community facing homelessness.
The $14.9 million redesign and renovation of Mel Trotter’s main shelter at 225 Commerce SW started more than two years ago, and was made possible through the generous support of private donors and philanthropic organizations in the community. The redesign includes a complete overhaul of the bed and bath accommodations at the shelter. Communal sleeping areas have been eliminated and replaced with 4-person dorm-style sleeping quarters with private bathrooms. Additionally, the shelter has added more family-friendly spaces, enhanced its community areas and tripled the space and capacity of its medical clinic.
“We are grateful to God for guiding us through this historic renovation, as well as for the generosity of our community,” said Dennis Van Kampen, President & CEO of Mel Trotter Ministries. “The layout of our facility at 225 Commerce SW has largely been the same since the shelter moved into this building back in 1968. Since then, our goals have shifted significantly from simply sheltering and feeding to actively helping our guests out of homelessness. These renovations, which promote an individual’s dignity, self-care, and respect, will help us do that.
The expanded medical services are possible through a new collective healthcare partnership with Corewell Health, Trinity Health St. Mary’s, the University of Michigan Health West, Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, Catherine’s Health Center and Network 180. Shelter guests will have full access to the expanded medical space and its services which include medical and behavioral health, dental, vision and chiropractic care in addition to substance use disorder treatment services.
“Along with food and shelter, health care is a basic need all people should have access to,” said Dennis Van Kampen. “We are proud to offer these services to our guests, to prepare them for the next chapter in their life.”
The clinic space also includes a sobering center which has operated for more than two decades as a way to divert those suffering from addiction away from hospital emergency rooms, jails and the dangers of being on the streets. The center is now licensed with the State of Michigan as a substance use disorder service provider, and Network 180 recovery coaches are on site to work with guests who are interested in recovery.
“Mel Trotter Ministries exists to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ toward anyone experiencing hunger and homelessness,” said Anedra Eatman, newly appointed Board Chair at Mel Trotter Ministries. “Our mission is to work to end homelessness one life at a time through the power of Christ, without judgment or hesitation. This newly renovated space will allow us to fulfill that mission in a greater way going forward.”
Work for the renovation project was managed and completed by Rockford Construction. Next Step of West Michigan, a subsidiary of Mel Trotter Ministries that provides job training and employment opportunities, worked with Rockford Construction on the renovation project.
Representatives from the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will be on hand at 9:00 a.m. on April 27th to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Tours of the facility will be available immediately following the official ceremonies.