GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids is becoming a city of economic growth, but sometimes we forget those who are simultaneously slipping through cracks. While it’s easy to be a landlord in the area, Grand Rapids is increasingly becoming more financially difficult to become a homeowner.
Sue Vilcans and her family are the prime example of this sort of hardship. With a difficult and unsafe situation, Sue had no other option but to move her and and 3 kids out. With nowhere to go and no steady income, Sue struggled to make ends mean in a hotel. After about a year, Sue had to seek a better option for her family. That is when she turned to the Family Promise of Grand Rapids.
As our second Connecting With Community finalist, Family Promise is a partnering organization that seeks to help parents with kids find a safe and secure home when they have none. With this as their guiding mission, they’ve sought out many other organizations to ensure that families like Sue’s are taken care of and treated with dignity.
I really liked that I was treated as a person. I was acknowledged as a mom working hard to provide for my children” -Sue
In pursuit of their overarching mission, Family Promise recently collaborated with the Interfaith Hospitality Network. With over 38 area congregations, and over 1,600 volunteers, this multi-congregational ministry in West Michigan provides safe and immediate shelter within their congregations for families like Sue and her 3 kids.
Not only do they provide beds to sleep on, but each family has a room of their own to ensure togetherness and privacy. Cooking meals and playing games with the kids is also something the IHN provides for homeless families like Sue’s. The IHN seeks to lets these parents and kids know that they have a safe place to call home.
They still spot some of the churches we were at, and want to visit. What I’m thinking was a difficult time, my kids have good memories” -Sue
But the Family Promise of Grand Rapids knows that many of these families desire to be homeowners as well. A stable and permanent foundation is so crucial for the developing minds and emotional health of young kids. That is why Family Promise has collaborated with Foremost insurance.
With the Foremost Insurance and the Partners in Housing initiative, Family Promise is able to help homeless families to obtain permanent housing. As the leading insurer of manufactured homes, the Foremost team utilizes their expertise to help Family Promise find suitable homes for purchase. In addition, the team of employees goes above and beyond this effort by refurbishing, painting and landscaping these mobile homes.
With recent employment, Sue and Family Promise have worked together to help her find a permanent foundation through the Partners in Housing initiative. Through the guiding process of Foremost and Family Promise, the motivated mother can now say she is a new homeowner!
To be a homeowner and have safe secure housing for my children is a dream I never thought would happen” -Sue
Like many other families that have received assistance from Family Promise and it’s partnerships, Sue and her 3 kids had the chance to get back on their feet again. Sometimes homelessness is an unfortunate circumstance that can be caused by unavoidable situations. Family Promise treats each individual with dignity and value regardless. As an organization that aids to create independence, they fight to educate and prepare each individual to be self-sufficient homeowners.
Family promise is not designed as a handout, it’s designed as a hand up. It’s resources in terms of information and opportunities” -Sue
Family Promise of Grand Rapids is an incredible organization working to expand their efforts in meeting the needs of homeless families around the area. With the collaborative efforts of the Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Foremost insurance, those ever-increasing needs are being met, while teaching along the way.
If it can’t happen here, it can’t happen anywhere. Grand Rapids is one of the most unique and strong and creative communities that I’ve ever been a part of…We can solve this and we can do this if we do this as a community together” – Cheryl Schuch, Executive Director of Family Promise Grand Rapids
Family Promise is just one of eight Connecting with Community Awards finalists. Continue to watch 24 Hour News 8 Fridays at 5 to see the next story.