$320,000 Awarded for Safe Housing, Fresh Food and Art

Even as the summer is winding down, Grand Rapids Community Foundation is heating up and this week granted a total of $320,000 to four local organizations.

In an effort to promote access to affordable housing through consumer and community engagement, Community Rebuilders was awarded a grant totaling $170,000. “They really have a great skill for being able to place households in permanent, affording housing,” said the Foundation’s Vice President of Programs, Marcia Rapp. “Work they’re doing is because of the increase in homelessness and foreclosures that spiked during the recession which Grand Rapids has not fully recovered from.”

“A recent report on the effectiveness of the Community Rebuilders program showed that 91% of homeless households assisted with short term rental assistance remain stably housed six months post exit,” said Kate Luckert Schmid, program director. “Plus, stats show that 97% of households provided prevention assistance remain stably housed 12 months post exit.” 

Community Rebuilders has been a significant leader in reshaping the way services are provided to households facing a housing crisis in greater Grand Rapids through the Vision to End Homelessness program for nearly 10 years. The recent grant funds will be used to hire a Lead HRS employee and support HOME fund distribution. 

Steepletown Neighborhood Services was awarded $50,000 to forge a collaboration effort that seeks to engage tenants as building blocks to larger, systematic housing advocacy work. Steepletown is striving toward community organizing and advocacy to promote good quality, safe and affordable rental options for Grand Rapidians.

Midtown Neighborhood Association also received a significant grant to help improve and expand Fulton Street Farmers Market. A grant for $45,000 was awarded to boost the market that is a major source of fresh, locally-produced and sourced food in a low-to-moderate income neighborhood in the center of Grand Rapids. An additional $5,000 was also made available to Midtown based on a $1:$1 challenge for non-foundation funds raised; which means, the Foundation will meet individual, corporate, brick sales and fundraisers contributions up to $5,000.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) was awarded $50,000 to help support capacity building and increase internal policy development. Founded in 1977, the UICA is Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center and a dynamic, multidisciplinary location for the expansion of the art of our time.