Back on Your Feet: What GR is doing to combat homelessness

June 24th, 2015

Community Convo with Tami VHomelessness is an issue that is often ignored by many Americans.

Unfortunately, I have been guilty of that same neglect. Growing up in a small Illinois community of about 12,000, homelessness was not a visible issue throughout my childhood. It was one of those things that, unfortunately, was “out of sight, out of mind” for me. It’s an area of life in which I am fairly naive. But fortunately, organizations like Well House are committed to spreading awareness of and resolving the issue of homelessness in our community.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a 616 Community Conversation with Tami VandenBerg, the executive director of Grand Rapids’ Well House. It was incredible to watch 20-25 members of our community come together to discuss homelessness and what we can do to combat it. Tami and her team provide a great example of what that looks like and how we can all be involved.

To add some further insight, I recently read a statistic claiming that Grand Rapids has seen a 15% increase in homelessness over the past year. I couldn’t help but ask myself what could be done to reverse that number. The answer is not easy. Unfortunately, there isn’t a calculated formula to solving homelessness. Though I’m happy to know that Well House plays an active role in the solution.

Well House is more than your typical shelter; they are committed to providing safe, affordable housing – regardless of a person’s past or current situation. More importantly, they are committed to helping their community figure out the future. Well House gives people the support, encouragement and resources to get back on their feet. That’s something I want to be a part of. Do you?


Missed out on the conversation? Watch the recap.
– Question: What makes WellHouse different? [VIDEO]
– Question: How does WellHouse keep people from ending up back on the streets? [VIDEO]


Written by:  Andrew Donsbach, Apprentice