Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

VNG

Shelters in Heartside

Recommended Posts

Round and round we go.

I'll just finish my side with a simple statement:

Look at who all that wants to turn Heartside into Heartless-Side.

 

And who would that be John?

This thread has been circling the drain for days now.  Does anybody have any actual ideas on how to incentivize a ministry to relocate?

 

Anybody?

 

[*crickets*] 

 

Me neither.

 

Unless someone has something new to say, I respectfully request that this topic be shut down.

 

If you don't want to participate in the discussion, I believe you can hide it or shut off notifications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


And who would that be John?

 

If you don't want to participate in the discussion, I believe you can hide it or shut off notifications.

Look

Lets take over a neighborhood and move-out the people that we don't like.

Lets try to buy-out God's work.

Lets move the missions to an area we don't like anyway.

Lets turn Heartside into Heart-less Side.

Look at who favors this.

Look at who doesn't want to understand the people of Heartside.

Look

The most important key to life is: Understanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last I checked it didn't get the nickname Heartside because of the kind caring nature of the residents,  regardless of economic circumstance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look

Lets take over a neighborhood and move-out the people that we don't like.

Lets try to buy-out God's work.

Lets move the missions to an area we don't like anyway.

Lets turn Heartside into Heart-less Side.

Look at who favors this.

Look at who doesn't want to understand the people of Heartside.

Look

The most important key to life is: Understanding.

 

Yeah, that didn't answer my question.

 

Is it "Heart-Full" to corral all the homeless people into South Division so that the wealthy Christians don't have to look at them every day? Except around Thanksgiving and Christmas?

 

I spend time on South Division. I know 3 business owners on South Division and have friends at Dwelling Place. It's rather despicable how that area is the dumping ground for the undesirables, all under the guise of compassion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Granted that much of downtown had devolved to that, but I'm looking out my window now at about 15 acres that were at one time filled with theaters and shops--albeit around the turn of the century--and now are basically nothing but office buildings with no street presence.  From Pearl up the highway is just no-man's land.  I've even heard it described as not being "downtown" enough for people looking for office space.  Monroe Center still has some commercial, but a lot of that was also flattened, albeit not all as a part of urban renewal.  Still, it's the best we've got, and it really isn't much. 

 

I agree with you regarding Division--it has always been a major corridor and still has very, very good traffic counts.  It was once known, of course, as the "Beltline."  To have a viable "downtown" commercial district requires a long, uninterrupted row of buildings with good street presence.  Basically a street facing strip mall.  The complication, as always, is adequate parking.  Downtown proper just doesn't have it.  Division is unique in that it could have adequate parking behind the buildings in outlots while maintaining a robust street presence in the heavily trafficked areas.  An Ann Arbor-esque downtown area is perhaps something of a fantasy, but Division is the most likely spot.

 

Wrong. Urban renenwal tore down the buildings on "Lower Monroe" where the missions and upper story cheap boarding rooms were (60's). There were empty store fronts just like S. Division.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume the ministries are 501©3's. Does this include transparency about their donor base?

 

People who throw money in the collection plate may not realize they are subsidizing the city's homeless community. 

 

Educating the churches seems like a logical starting point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Wrong. Urban renenwal tore down the buildings on "Lower Monroe" where the missions and upper story cheap boarding rooms were (60's). There were empty store fronts just like S. Division.

 

The next stop for the down and out was Bridge Street west of the river. The top manager of my employer used to tell the union employees that they were just a pair of hands he could replace any morning off the sidewalks of Bridge St.  He was a "nice" guy. (70's)

 

The last couple decades the missions have been concentrated around S. Division. Cheap buildings and cheap rent would be my reasons why. Same reason they were on lower Monroe and then Bridge St.

 

 

Wrong. South Division was "the highway commercial" of the 40's and 50's. Again, look at the old photos. Division was US 131 - the state trunk line south to Kalamazoo and US 12 at White Pigeon. US 12 - was "the road" between Detroit and Chicago - No toll road, no I-94.  Division was commercial from Michigan Street to about 44th. No other street in GR had mile after mile of 4 lane road lined with car lots, motels, theaters and shops of all types.  28th Street at that time was pretty much mile after mile of 2 lane rural road.

 

This "rail yard" was the yard for the passenger depot - Union Station. This was the center of transportation in GR until the auto era.

 

Good history of the post-war. But think back a little more. The railyards and waterways were the entry points to the city, particularly for single men. That's why we have the residential hotels like the Milner and the Herkimer (the nicer hotels were on Monroe).  this pattern of residential housing (single occupancy) near the railyard is a common one, so it's not suprising that it should be here in Grand Rapids.

 

You are right about the emergence of Division is a commercial strip, although most of that commercial development takes place s of Cottage Grove, and even more, past Burton. Prior to the auto age, what do we see about Division? An Italian neighborhood at Hall (now largely demolished), a few speculative retail buildings, but most ly factories and warehouses -- the places that support the low wage, single adult commmunity that is now our Heartside transient. Closer to downtown, Division was commercial, but of a distinctly modest sort (e.g. the old Harris store).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume the ministries are 501©3's. Does this include transparency about their donor base?

 

People who throw money in the collection plate may not realize they are subsidizing the city's homeless community. 

 

Educating the churches seems like a logical starting point. 

 

I think they're probably OK with it. It's a way to "save souls" with a captive audience. The Mel Trotter Thanksgiving Feast at DVP is really a big pray-in/revival service for the homeless. I've seen it in action. And actually, we used to volunteer to set up for it until they found out we weren't part of the "right church," and we were told they wouldn't be needing our help the next year. Lovely. :)

Granted that much of downtown had devolved to that, but I'm looking out my window now at about 15 acres that were at one time filled with theaters and shops--albeit around the turn of the century--and now are basically nothing but office buildings with no street presence.  From Pearl up the highway is just no-man's land.  I've even heard it described as not being "downtown" enough for people looking for office space.  Monroe Center still has some commercial, but a lot of that was also flattened, albeit not all as a part of urban renewal.  Still, it's the best we've got, and it really isn't much. 

 

I agree with you regarding Division--it has always been a major corridor and still has very, very good traffic counts.  It was once known, of course, as the "Beltline."  To have a viable "downtown" commercial district requires a long, uninterrupted row of buildings with good street presence.  Basically a street facing strip mall.  The complication, as always, is adequate parking.  Downtown proper just doesn't have it.  Division is unique in that it could have adequate parking behind the buildings in outlots while maintaining a robust street presence in the heavily trafficked areas.  An Ann Arbor-esque downtown area is perhaps something of a fantasy, but Division is the most likely spot.

 

South Division between the Civic Theater and Wealthy does have a chance of being like Ann Arbor's Main Street. There's plenty of parking in that area, including two recently built ramps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just researching a bit but really could not find what I was looking for. What I did seem to find was that there was no homeless shelters ever outside of the Heartside. There were missions, as there still are, and some house woman and children, but in relation to homeless men, it seems it all began in the Heartside. I believe most of the big Heartside missions came about in the late 1950s and 60s. However, the first one was on Market st. I could find no articles as to how much a success S Division ever was. Only Monroe seemed a huge success. Looking for old photos seemed to be very limited results. 

 

My conclusion is what I already assumed, in that right now, Met Trotter is the only open circuit mission for men there is. Guiding light now caters only to those trying to better themselves. The amount of programs offered at many places surprised me much. Certainly hunger is not an issue. 

 

It is my understanding that in the history of shelters location was not the concern, only a place they could expand. In other words, probably, if  a lot of money was offered to the two missions, they may take it. However, there are many many more places and services that are here than just the two missions. That being said, there would have to be a group effort in combining all services in one complex via scattered about.

 

 The stories of the founding fathers of these places are awesome. Mel Trotter was raised in a drunken family, got married as a drunk, caused (not directly) the death of his son by drinking but continued anyway. A  mission in Chicago saved his life as he was about to drown himself. Like many other stories found within the start of and through out the history of, both for fathers and the once homeless, Jesus Christ has changed lives by higher numbers than I can count.

 

In any event, I do not see the missions going anywhere. Personally, location is not a huge factor for me. Only that the continued help is there in at least the same capacity as it is now. 

 

GRdad, if not to personal, what "church" was you from as to why your chuch could not volunteer? I am just trying to make sense out of that one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just researching a bit but really could not find what I was looking for. What I did seem to find was that there was no homeless shelters ever outside of the Heartside. There were missions, as there still are, and some house woman and children, but in relation to homeless men, it seems it all began in the Heartside. I believe most of the big Heartside missions came about in the late 1950s and 60s. However, the first one was on Market st. I could find no articles as to how much a success S Division ever was. Only Monroe seemed a huge success. Looking for old photos seemed to be very limited results. 

 

My conclusion is what I already assumed, in that right now, Met Trotter is the only open circuit mission for men there is. Guiding light now caters only to those trying to better themselves. The amount of programs offered at many places surprised me much. Certainly hunger is not an issue. 

 

It is my understanding that in the history of shelters location was not the concern, only a place they could expand. In other words, probably, if  a lot of money was offered to the two missions, they may take it. However, there are many many more places and services that are here than just the two missions. That being said, there would have to be a group effort in combining all services in one complex via scattered about.

 

 The stories of the founding fathers of these places are awesome. Mel Trotter was raised in a drunken family, got married as a drunk, caused (not directly) the death of his son by drinking but continued anyway. A  mission in Chicago saved his life as he was about to drown himself. Like many other stories found within the start of and through out the history of, both for fathers and the once homeless, Jesus Christ has changed lives by higher numbers than I can count.

 

In any event, I do not see the missions going anywhere. Personally, location is not a huge factor for me. Only that the continued help is there in at least the same capacity as it is now. 

 

GRdad, if not to personal, what "church" was you from as to why your chuch could not volunteer? I am just trying to make sense out of that one. 

 

I grew up Catholic. We weren't there as part of a church group, we were there with a couple of other families we know (of different faiths), and had helped 3 years in a row. When they found out we weren't part of a couple of specific church groups (can't remember which ones) they thanked us but told us not to come back the next year.

 

South Division was a bustling entertainment district back in the early 1900's. Travelers would get off at Union Station on Ionia and would head up the hill to South Division for room and board, drinking, brothels. There was an arcade on S Division about where the Harris Building is that connected to the "Coliseum" on Commerce Avenue, where United Way is now. The Coliseum hosted boxing matches, live music and other events, and the connection to the Arcade allowed access to the streetcar line that ran down Division. An interesting tidbit, many of the buildings on the East side of South Division do not have their original facades (contrast them with the ornate facades on the West Side of the street) because the city had to chop a couple of feet off the fronts of the buildings to widen the street.

 

The Knights of Pytheus had a social lodge in the Harris Building, that hosted "single women" rooms which was unheard of back then. A lot of people think it was like a bordello. Site.Lab hosted an event there to celebrate the history of the Pytheons (sp?)

 

There was a Cody Hotel at the corner of South Division and Fulton, which was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody, where UICA sits now.

 

http://www.tbonegal1231.com/Ulist/U3A.jpg

 

This pic shows the streetcar:

 

http://godwin.bobanna.com/gr_cody_hotel_about_1910.jpg

 

Here is a pic of South Division around that period. It was definitely a strong commercial corridor:

 

http://cdm16317.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4006coll8/id/758/rec/3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the fantastic info on south Division, GR dad. I would of never known, but in relation to the times, it makes sense. The last picture was a classic. The Hotel wasn't looking to shabby either. I did find the maps on the street car routes earlier as well is the proposed routes, which would of been huge. I also so the article on the street widening. Very interesting. In fact, one article stated Division was not even a thoroughfare at one point between Hall and Franklin but no one knows the reason. I cannot help but want to go back in time for just a bit to see in person what it was like. (before the burbs)

 

Sorry to hear about you and ect. basically being rejected from helping. Makes no sense. If I were to tell you I never had any issues with some formats of organized religion myself I would be lying to you. I learned long ago to take it as a personal devotion and not count on any one organization. Fact is, I guess we all got our faults. Your story is not alone, however, and I will never understand the reasoning behind such. At any rate, however, I am very happy they are there. 

 

It is said they use to take count of the homeless but a long time ago when the count reached into the thousands (no idea what it is today or how they got their count) it became too much of a hassle to continue the count.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the sake of conversation and poking and prodding random thoughts...

 

How does all of this relate to the culture of South Division?  While it's been shown that Division was once a thriving retail strip, what was its nature?  Someone above mentioned it being a bit more modest and containing places such as brothels, and the relationship that poorer yet diverse areas have with arts and culture.  I cannot help but to think of London's SOHO in a way in relation to South Division.

 

 

By the mid-19th century, all respectable families had moved away, and prostitutes, music halls and small theatres had moved in. In the early 20th century, foreign nationals opened cheap eating-houses, and the neighbourhood became a fashionable place to eat for intellectuals, writers and artists. From the 1930s to the early 1960s, Soho folklore states that the pubs of Soho were packed every night with drunken writers, poets and artists, many of whom never stayed sober long enough to become successful; and it was also during this period that the Soho pub landlords established themselves.

 

A common name for South Division is "Avenue of the Arts," boasting various art and music shoppes, galleries, and venues such as the DAAC and whatever Skelletones is now called, and this has developed despite the homeless presence in the area, or has the homeless presence inadvertently allowed it to develop (or re-grow from remnants of its possible past) by keeping demand for higher-cost residential and commercial rents down to levels that burgeoning artists can afford?  Have the homeless really been scaring away some artists, and if so have they indirectly been allowing more artists flock to the area than they eventually scare away?  What would we see if we relocated all of the homeless and the missions, would we see a change in the culture of South Division as demand for (and the prices people will be willing to pay) retail goes up, potientially driving out some of the lower-but-not-bottom-income guests of the area, similar to the changing culture of today's SOHO? (as is addressed in the following song:

)  Can what has occurred the past decade continue with the homeless presence in the area?  (Certainly it's a much nicer place to be now than it was in 1990.)  Or am I just being ridiculous at the notion of even trying to compare South Division and SOHO, or does Easttown make the discussion on South Division's small culture irrelevant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the fantastic info on south Division, GR dad. I would of never known, but in relation to the times, it makes sense. The last picture was a classic. The Hotel wasn't looking to shabby either. I did find the maps on the street car routes earlier as well is the proposed routes, which would of been huge. I also so the article on the street widening. Very interesting. In fact, one article stated Division was not even a thoroughfare at one point between Hall and Franklin but no one knows the reason. I cannot help but want to go back in time for just a bit to see in person what it was like. (before the burbs)

 

Sorry to hear about you and ect. basically being rejected from helping. Makes no sense. If I were to tell you I never had any issues with some formats of organized religion myself I would be lying to you. I learned long ago to take it as a personal devotion and not count on any one organization. Fact is, I guess we all got our faults. Your story is not alone, however, and I will never understand the reasoning behind such. At any rate, however, I am very happy they are there. 

 

It is said they use to take count of the homeless but a long time ago when the count reached into the thousands (no idea what it is today or how they got their count) it became too much of a hassle to continue the count.  

 

 

Oh yeah, we've heard it all here in West Michigan. Despite there being a ton of catholics here, I've on more than one occasion mentioned that I was Catholic and have heard the air literally sucked out of the room. At social events, I've been asked why I worship false idols and worship Mary instead of Jesus. I can't even count how many times. I've had people say "must be nice to commit any kind of sin you want and then go see a Priest and it's all washed away." I worked for a company that played religious music over the speaker system in the lobby, and I said that it might be off-putting to customers who were visiting who weren't Christian, and was told I could find a job somewhere else if I didn't like it. I've heard it all. :) I'm actually surprised we've stayed here this long, LOL. We did find it better to move from the Southwest suburbs to the Northeast side though about 10 years ago.

 

So I don't necessarily hold the beliefs and intentions of a lot of the local Christians in the highest regard. So when I see that all of the homeless shelters are actually "religious" organizations, it makes me cringe. You can actually treat substance abuse without shoving religion on someone.

 

So, back to the shelters on South Division discussion. Heartside's history is pretty cool. And the name "Heart" had nothing to do with shelters for homeless people. One building in Heartside that has a really fascinating history is the old Horseshoe Bar on Grandville. Look it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has morphed into quite the discussion. This past weekend I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for a beer and to watch a game. Instead of parking close to downtown, I parked at a buddy's house in Heritage Hill and we walked down Wealthy to Division, then along Division to Fulton, to Ionia. 

 

I was asked for money 9 times, noticed a drug deal, and counted 37 people gathered by Degage, most of whom were smoking outside. Several other people where drunk, even more had serious body odor as it was warm at the end of last week, and one was receiving medical attention because he was passed out in a doorway. All of this occurred between 7 and 8 pm. 

 

When I go into downtown, I normally park in one of the garages north of Fulton and don't ever really have a need to go past Hop Cat... maybe McFadden's, but event that is rare. 

 

One poster asked, if not here, then where. I think that is a valid question, and my response would be all over. I think one of the biggest issues is that they are concentrated in this small area of downtown and I think that they should be spread out to various locations across the region, all within walking distance of public transportation. As a Catholic, I think that some people need to be helped from time to time. But I think that there are many cases that instead of helping these people, we might be enabling them. My buddy also commented that the park by the freeway is the last place he would bring his kids as it is common place for it to become overrun with homeless people and gangs. 

 

I can tell you though, if I were an investor, there is no way I would put a dime of my money into that area right now. 

 

This thread has been circling the drain for days now.  Does anybody have any actual ideas on how to incentivize a ministry to relocate?

 

Anybody?

 

[*crickets*] 

 

Me neither.

 

Unless someone has something new to say, I respectfully request that this topic be shut down.

 

Perhaps find a developer who would be willing to do a land trade in return for short term tax credits and use public/private/non-profit funds to construct new buildings. These shelters appear to always be expanding or renovating. Perhaps the idea of a new facility in different part of the city would be enough incentive for them to move. 

 

Also change the regulations to make it harder for these type of institutions to expand within the district, crack down on loitering, public intoxication, and smoking within a given distance of a building entrance. If you remove the comfort factors, things will change. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the very least, this is one topic that has had a ton on interesting responses from all over the board and to my actual liking, more diverse than the subject alone. I think as soon is time permits me to again, I will see if I can find out what other cities have done apart from the ones I already know.

 

VNG, do you walk around looking rich? LOL Just messing around. I am on that blockage often but I guess I do not find it as exciting is you have, though certainly nothing you stated uncommon for the zone. I usually am around a bit earlier. When I do go down there later, yes, it is a bit more active though. I got to say though, I off hand cannot think of anywhere in Michigan quite like S. Division. Even Woodward ave and Michigan ave dont quite have the same intensity for such a small blockage area. Eastern market might be the closest but with seeming more variety.

 

GR dad, I hear what you are saying. I have several Catholic friends myself. I am non denominational and do not hold some of the views often held by many churches thus I catch a bit of flack myself, though I do not have the Catholic name tag. :) I have had Christian family members hurt me to some degree as well. I use to fight with every pastor that came to my door and most would never stay around to answer the tough questions. :(  For me, Jesus showed Himself very clearly to me, and I know I was on a road to nowhere happy very quickly and had really lucked out in events just occurring. For me, Jesus changed my death sentence to a life sentence. However, I lived more than half my life a little closer to your shoes in this relation so I know enough that it only hurts when anything is being shoved down your throat. In saying that, changed lives (not perfect lives) often company acceptance of Jesus. No matter the denomination. I say this not as an insult of any kind but a sincere question. I believe if you do some homework you will find most hospitals, clinics, and missions were founded by Christians. It is not that it cannot be done or founded by others, just a change of heart for helping that often comes with faith leads to these kind of projects. It certainly by no means makes Christians better or higher valued than all others, only that most want to make a difference for other people. That is why in my belief, despite there being resentment (not without good reason at times) most organizations of religion are the ones starting these places of help. ( I should note, however,  greed has swept through many organizations that started with a humble helping heart) I will be honest, though I helped many before my change, my change has brought me to a wanting to help. 

 

Any how, I just said all of that to say, though I do understand where you are coming from (maybe more than you know) I do not believe this area (religion backbone of these organizations) will be changing much any time in the future. Whether we agree with all of what some one believes in or not, it is good to know they are helping the less fortunate or in many cases, the less motivated. I do believe, however, the reason missions mandate sermons is to hopefully stir change in their hearts as well. I do question on how many will ever change without a change of heart.        

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The churches that sponsor these organizations that we've identified as being the biggest obstacle to Division becoming a successful part of a vibrant downtown all have very,  very deep pockets - I don't think the money to move them is really an issue. Organized religion has devolved into Religion, Inc. and these same churches are not going to be making any moves unless there's something in it for them. Unfortunately, their unwillingness to start writing some checks has created a homeless ghetto and like many others have stated, had I the money, Division would be the last place I would look to open a business. There is a pasta shop in Eastown that is making the move into the old Harris furniture building - I wish them well but I do believe they'll see a huge drop in their customer base.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The churches that sponsor these organizations that we've identified as being the biggest obstacle to Division becoming a successful part of a vibrant downtown all have very,  very deep pockets - I don't think the money to move them is really an issue. Organized religion has devolved into Religion, Inc. and these same churches are not going to be making any moves unless there's something in it for them. Unfortunately, their unwillingness to start writing some checks has created a homeless ghetto and like many others have stated, had I the money, Division would be the last place I would look to open a business. There is a pasta shop in Eastown that is making the move into the old Harris furniture building - I wish them well but I do believe they'll see a huge drop in their customer base.  

 

 

I think that section of South Division holds the most promise, and frankly, I think Degage Ministries probably produces the greatest number of vagrants in that area. That old lodge they're in is so old and has to be in rough shape. I can't imagine they'd turn down an opportunity to relocate. If it were further down Division, at least it'd still be on the #1 Rapid route.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VNG, do you walk around looking rich? LOL Just messing around. I am on that blockage often but I guess I do not find it as exciting is you have, though certainly nothing you stated uncommon for the zone. I usually am around a bit earlier. When I do go down there later, yes, it is a bit more active though. I got to say though, I off hand cannot think of anywhere in Michigan quite like S. Division. Even Woodward ave and Michigan ave dont quite have the same intensity for such a small blockage area. Eastern market might be the closest but with seeming more variety.

    

I was wearing a gold plated suit with diamond buttons and cuff links.  :whistling: 

 

 

 

 

OK, it was light brown slacks and a polo shirt. We had just finished golfing. 

 

My buddy told me that he was once hit up for money by someone on the sidewalk, as he was sitting at the corner table on the first floor of Buffalo Wild Wings when the windows were open. He said that he had friends in from out of town and they were shocked that someone would be so brazen to attempt such a thing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the weather turns cold, why not offer free bus and train passes to Florida and Arizona?  Demographic trends show that much of the U.S. population is shifting to the Southern states.  There's no reason the homeless population shouldn't follow that same trend.

 

 

Note:  I'm being facetious of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that section of South Division holds the most promise, and frankly, I think Degage Ministries probably produces the greatest number of vagrants in that area. That old lodge they're in is so old and has to be in rough shape. I can't imagine they'd turn down an opportunity to relocate. If it were further down Division, at least it'd still be on the #1 Rapid route.

The Degage Ministries Building has been renovated not too long ago. The ministry and services have grown and are better meeting the needs of those in need. They provide services that the Missions do not. The building seems to be supporting the needs of the ministry just fine at it's current location. Which is ideally near the missions, as is God's Kitchen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the weather turns cold, why not offer free bus and train passes to Florida and Arizona?  Demographic trends show that much of the U.S. population is shifting to the Southern states.  There's no reason the homeless population shouldn't follow that same trend.

 

I believe a community called "South Park" tried a strategy similar to that with great success:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_hmXbLCEkE.  Ahem. 

 

VNG's post, I think sums it up pretty well.  The homeless shelters have a real and discernible impact on the usefulness of the Division area for anything but homeless shelters.  Unfortunately, this effect also spills over to the State Street area, and much of the surrounding area.  They are also a large part of the the reason Heritage Hill, and to a greater extent, the Downtown area, have and will have no seriously viable commercial shopping district--we are home to the homeless from across the state.  For those with nothing to lose and with many addictions, the social graces are not high on the priority list.

 

It just floors me that this is allowed to go on merely blocks from an area with some of the highest real estate values in the entire city--if not the entire region.  How much of the rife homelessness (arguably) being enabled by the shelters is now holding the immediate area back?  Quite a lot, I would submit.  Yet, nothing will ever happen due to the shrill voices that would be raised from Cascade, Ada, Hudsonville, Jenison, and all of the surrounding suburbs about the lack of sympathy and Christian charity being exhibited by those daring to challenge the state of affairs.  Not that they would ever suffer a bunch of crazed drug addicts and drunks begging them for change in their backyards.  Propose a homeless shelter near Woodland or Rivertown Mall and see what happens...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My buddy told me that he was once hit up for money by someone on the sidewalk, as he was sitting at the corner table on the first floor of Buffalo Wild Wings when the windows were open. He said that he had friends in from out of town and they were shocked that someone would be so brazen to attempt such a thing. 

I've seen much more brazen in Chicago, but then, that's Chicago.

 

I've heard Lansing has a really severe problem with homeless in some areas.  A friend of mine from GR actually said it was much worse there, but that could be due to the better availability of special services to the mentally needy due to the location of the capitol &c as well as all of the closed auto factories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Degage Ministries Building has been renovated not too long ago. The ministry and services have grown and are better meeting the needs of those in need. They provide services that the Missions do not. The building seems to be supporting the needs of the ministry just fine at it's current location. Which is ideally near the missions, as is God's Kitchen.

 

If it's truly meeting the needs of the community, then why so many people standing outside and not inside? Wouldn't that be "failing to meet the needs of its clients?" Are the metrics of success of a homeless mission to have more clients? Or fewer clients?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe a community called "South Park" tried a strategy similar to that with great success:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_hmXbLCEkE.  Ahem. 

 

VNG's post, I think sums it up pretty well.  The homeless shelters have a real and discernible impact on the usefulness of the Division area for anything but homeless shelters.  Unfortunately, this effect also spills over to the State Street area, and much of the surrounding area.  They are also a large part of the the reason Heritage Hill, and to a greater extent, the Downtown area, have and will have no seriously viable commercial shopping district--we are home to the homeless from across the state.  For those with nothing to lose and with many addictions, the social graces are not high on the priority list.

 

It just floors me that this is allowed to go on merely blocks from an area with some of the highest real estate values in the entire city--if not the entire region.  How much of the rife homelessness (arguably) being enabled by the shelters is now holding the immediate area back?  Quite a lot, I would submit.  Yet, nothing will ever happen due to the shrill voices that would be raised from Cascade, Ada, Hudsonville, Jenison, and all of the surrounding suburbs about the lack of sympathy and Christian charity being exhibited by those daring to challenge the state of affairs.  Not that they would ever suffer a bunch of crazed drug addicts and drunks begging them for change in their backyards.  Propose a homeless shelter near Woodland or Rivertown Mall and see what happens...

 

Exactly. It's what I've come to realize. Far too many people in the Grand Rapids area want the homeless to stay in that one block area. It's the compassionate thing to do. And what do the powers-that-be Grand Action crowd do when they make an investment in that area (the Downtown Market)? They hire armed security guards to patrol the place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:ph34r:  . . . . an attempt at some help coming from DDA?  http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/06/downtown_development_authority_16.html#incart_river

 

A relevant quote from article, "....The subject of bringing on downtown ambassadors came after a presentation by a task force on economic development along South Division Avenue between Fulton and Wealthy streets....".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.