It is estimated that 5,000 individuals were homeless in Grand Rapids in 2012.
While there are shelters that provide a warm bed and daily meals, there is often a gap in consistent services and advocacy for those who are homeless and almost homeless, and those who are suffering with physical, emotional, and mental health trauma. Heartside neighbors* have many problems that reach beyond the lack of a safe and suitable home. They are often faced with many social disadvantages, unaware of available private and public services, and encounter barriers such as:
• Reduced access to health care and dental services
• Limited access to education
• Increased risk of suffering from violence and abuse
• General rejection or discrimination from other people
• Loss of usual relationships with the mainstream
• Not being seen as suitable for employment
• Reduced access to banking services
• Reduced access to communications technology
Heartside Ministry seeks to transform lives and our community by establishing relationships with our underserved neighbors so that they may experience long-term, life-altering success through our advocacy department (social workers), referral services, support groups, therapeutic art, education, and pastoral care.
Together with our neighbors, we provide a safe environment for people to enrich their lives and grow through worship & spirituality, GED classes, an online computer center, a gallery showcasing neighbor artists’ works, and studios for painting, drawing, pottery, wood work, and fabric arts. Art programs offer over 500 work sessions in any given month. This past year, neighbors benefitted from over 4,200 personal counseling sessions with staff social workers, counselors, and the pastoral care department; from accessing substance abuse recovery programs 4,000 times; and from visiting our Community Room nearly 2,000 times every month, including public restrooms and mail service for those who are homeless and have no address.
*NOTE: The people we serve are our “neighbors,” not clients or patrons or patients. Fundamental to our approach is the ability to live in solidarity with–and make common cause with–the people we affirm as our true neighbors.
We’d like to express our thanks to our 2014 gala guests for joining our circle of support at “The Art of the Heart Gala!” Together, donors and sponsors have donated over $65,000 in support of our neighbors. Thanks to each of you, we are all standing taller and stronger and moving forward together in amazing new ways, creating a world that is more just, more beautiful, and more compassionate.
If you would like to come down for a visit and experience Heartside Ministry personally, please call 616-235-7211. Our staff would love to show you around and introduce you personally to the amazing neighbors you are supporting.
A special thanks to our 2014 event sponsors:
Central Reformed Church, Grand Rapids
BDO USA, LLP
Dianne & Len DeBraber
Jeanne & Ron DeWaard
Mitch Glover, Northwestern Mutual
Frances J. Boyden
City Commissioners Ruth Kelly & Rosalynn Bliss
Cornerstone University/Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
Dominican Sisters – Grand Rapids
First United Methodist Church
Jan Gockerman & Wendy Wenner
Rev. David Baak & Betty Zylstra
Mike & Katie Cuncannan
Senator David Hildenbrand
John P. Francis
Merl & Ann Petzold
Welch Dry Inc.
Syd & Mary Baxter
Ed & Ruth DeVries
The Micah Center
The Princess Society
Milt & Barb Rohwer