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Grand Rapids, Mich. (July 31, 2023) – Mel Trotter Ministries, the largest provider of services to people experiencing homelessness in West Michigan, announced today it has purchased a building at 1314 South Division owned by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Grand Rapids.

Mel Trotter plans to use the building, which is located near its Next Step of West Michigan facility on Garden Avenue SE, to open a new retail thrift clearance center. The building will also be used as a warehousing operation for its thrift stores, provide classroom space for their workforce development program, and offer some meeting space for the community.

“When we were approached by St. Vincent de Paul about this building, we were able to see the potential it could hold for Mel Trotter and the people we serve,” said Dennis Van Kampen, president and CEO of Mel Trotter Ministries. “We are grateful that a number of our donors chose to step forward to specifically provide funding and make this purchase possible. It remains our desire to continue serving the surrounding neighborhoods, and we are excited about the possibilities that this building will help bring about.”

Mel Trotter also plans to expand its workforce development services for Mel Trotter Ministries’ guests at this new location, as well as further support the neighbors in the 49507 area.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Grand Rapids previously used the building for its thrift store. The organization decided to sell the property in order to better focus on its mission of building a more just world through personal relationships with, and service to, people in need. The sale will allow St. Vincent de Paul to re-invest the resources used to operate the thrift store into its human needs programs.

“We are pleased with this outcome as it helps St. Vincent de Paul build additional capacity in serving the poor. We do this through our Conferences at the local parish level,” said Mark Fairgrieve, the Society’s president. “The Conference-based Home Visit is our primary aim, where at our peak we once had 38 Conferences within the diocese. The first of these began in 1919 at St. Anthony’s on the northwest side, and with this transaction we are returning to our roots.”

The purchase was completed July 13, 2023. Terms of the sale are not being released.

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