Who is homeless?

by: Adrienne Goodstal, Mel Trotter Ministries
Posted: Apr 6, 2020 / 11:04 AM EDT Updated: Apr 6, 2020 / 11:10 AM EDT

One of the best ways to change your community is by being educated on what the growing needs of the community are. Sharing what you know helps the community to come together and figure out solutions. We’d like to share with you who we are seeing walk through our doors at Mel Trotter Ministries.

The fastest growing populations experiencing homelessness are single women, families, and youth ages 18-24. Families tend to become homeless because of tragic situations like job loss, eviction or domestic violence. More single women are experiencing homelessness in Grand Rapids because of unmet mental health needs and the inability to maintain stable employment. Youth, which comprise 10 percent of the guests we serve at MTM, end up finding themselves on the streets because they are often aging out of the foster care system with no support or they identify as LGBTQ+ and are disowned by their families.

In 2018, the Coalition to End Homelessness identified 8,495 people experienced at least one episode of homelessness in Kent County. Mel Trotter Ministries serves about 4,000 people annually. In 2019, 36 percent of the guests we served were experiencing homelessness for the first time.

Only 4 percent of the guests at Mel Trotter said they struggle with an addiction and 16 percent struggle with mental illness.

People of color make up 58 percent, more than half, of the people served at Mel Trotter.

If you’d like to learn more about what Mel Trotter is doing to address the needs of homelessness, join us at a Meet the Mission Luncheon where you can get a tour and hear the stories of our guests.


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