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Amid "big surge" in need, a new shelter opens in Grand Rapids for homeless families

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
This former nursing home will become an emergency housing shelter for families in Grand Rapids in 2019.

About 80 families could move into a new emergency shelter in Grand Rapids in the coming weeks.

The shelter is inside a former nursing home. The city planning commission approved the site for use as emergency housing, but only for one year.

Cheryl Schuch is the head of Family Promise, which will run the shelter.

“We’ve had a big surge in need for shelter,” Schuch says. “And mostly housing for families with children in Grand Rapids.”

She says the new shelter will help address the problem in 2019. But the work continues to find a permanent solution to the growing problem of homelessness in Grand Rapids.

“We don’t have enough resources,” says Schuch. “The demand is exceeding the resources we have right now and we’ve got to do right by these families.”

Anyone in need of housing assistance in Grand Rapids can call 211 to find out about what resources are available. You can also click here.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.