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April 27, 2023

By: 13 On Your Side

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Mel Trotter Ministries is celebrating a major milestone Thursday. Work on the organization’s historic renovation is now complete.

Mel Trotter Ministries held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday morning.

Dennis Van Kampen, the President and CEO of Mel Trotter, says this expansion is going to make a big impact in the community.

“If we can come together as a community, and if we can do things like this, Mel Trotter, all of our partners that will actually help people leave homelessness forever,” Van Kampen said.


The nearly $15 million project includes a complete overhaul of the shelter’s sleeping accommodations.


“It helps us to offer more dignity to people that need it the most. So, we are done with large dorm shelters. We have small dorms, and building dorms like that has already proven that people get in there, they decompress. They can sleep, and then they can dream, and hope and they leave us more quickly than they ever had before for permanent housing,” Van Kampen said.


Now there are small dorms for more privacy, additional family-friendly spaces and an expanded medical clinic.


“We are offering medical providers onsite that are actually helping our guests get connected to health services, we’re actually getting ahead of things with preventive medicine,” Van Kampen said.


The work doesn’t stop there. Mel Trotter is raising money to build Grand Rapids’ first tiny home community.


“West Michigan is a place where if we all come together with the same will, we can actually solve the homelessness problem, we can actually move the needle significantly back. So we’re blessed to live in a community like this, and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” Van Kampen said.


The goal is that by the end of 2024 the organization will go from owning five housing units to 41 housing units.


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