$300,000 Grant to Expand Runaway and Homeless Youth Services in West Michigan

Grand Rapids Community Foundation today announced a $300,000 grant to Arbor Circle to expand outreach, interventions, and services for runaway and homeless youth. The grant made possible by Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Fund for Community Good and the Kate Pew Wolters Fund is part of a three-year initiative that will bring new service approaches and more outreach to help youth experiencing homelessness get the health and human services they need.

Each year 2,000 youth face homelessness in West Michigan. With support from Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Arbor Circle will bring outreach and therapeutic services to community sites where youth already receive basic needs support, in order to help youth shift from crisis into long-term stability.

“Bringing our resources out to youth and partners in the community is a win for everyone. More people will learn about youth homelessness, and more organizations will collaborate to serve youth,” said Jack Greenfield, President and CEO of Arbor Circle. “Most importantly, we will remove barriers for youth who might not otherwise get help. It’s a pivotal moment in how West Michigan supports youth, and Arbor Circle is grateful for Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s partnership.”  

“This innovative approach is emerging as a best practice nationally, and Arbor Circle’s exploratory work has shown great promise locally,” said Diana Sieger, President of Grand Rapids Community Foundation. “We are pleased to support the collaboration between Arbor Circle and its partners to help break the cycle of youth experiencing homelessness.”

Arbor Circle provides a full spectrum of care from the streets to stability for these youth. “Youth homelessness is different than adult homelessness—it calls for a special response from our community,” said Greenfield. “Many youth face family trauma, poverty, and distrust of social systems. About 35% of the youth we serve are also pregnant or parenting, and a significant portion identify as LGBTQ. The needs of youth are changing, and this grant enables us to change with them.”

Over the next three years, Arbor Circle projects it will serve at least 1,500 youth with therapeutic and housing services. More than 5,000 youth will be reached through outreach and education, and 200 community partners will be engaged.