GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A nonprofit organization is working to raise money to build a homeless, runaway and at-risk youth home in Grand Rapids.
Covenant House Michigan wants to build the youth home for ages 18-24 next to Covenant House Academy, a high school for at-risk students, located on Antoine Street SW near Division.
Myeisha Flowers, a student at Covenant House Academy who was once homeless, says she sees the struggle others around her go through.
“It was just, it was stressful and it was hard,” Flowers said. “When I was going through that I was just like, forget school, I don’t even want to go to school.”
The nonprofit organization is part of Covenant House International, the largest federation of youth sheltering programs in North America. The organization’s mission is to get young people back to a stable living situation and employment.
“A lot of them come somewhat broken, from very difficult and desperate circumstances, and it’s up to us to help them not look into the rear-view mirror too many times,” said Gerald Piro, the executive director of Covenant House Michigan.
Wolverine Building Group will be constructing the 15,470-square-foot home with design and engineering by Progressive AE. There will be 28 beds included in the home — 14 for boys and 14 for girls. The first floor will mostly be for students intake and assessment, including a large room used for multiple purposes. The second and third floor will be residential floors, with the second floor designated for women only and the third for men. A small café area, spaces for socializing, and laundry facilities will be included on each resident floor.
Covenant House Michigan-Grand Rapids will offer outreach programs, health services, educational and vocational programs, job readiness and placement in addition to the homeless shelter in order to help overcome the struggles that can contribute to homelessness.
Anyone who sees a young person in need can refer them to Covenant House Michigan-Grand Rapids once it is open. Organizers say they plan to drive around areas where homeless youth typically are and offer them a place to go.
The organization is still in the beginning stages of fundraising for the home. The goal is to raise about $4.5 million for the entire project.
Organizers hope to break ground in the summer of 2017 and open the following summer.