Having trouble receiving FOX 17? Click here:

Center to open for homeless teenagers and runaways in Grand Rapids

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A local church is teaming up with another organization to help homeless teenagers and runaways in Grand Rapids.

Mars Hill Bible Church and Arbor Circle will be transforming a vacant building on State Street into a drop-in center.

There, the youth can get connected to resources like housing options, employment support and trauma counseling.

"The CEO at Arbor Circle said it really well, he said, 'these are nobody's kids and so they're our kids," Andy Soper, with Mars Hill Bible Church said.

The building in downtown Grand Rapids will become 'HQ.' Soper and Julie Cnossen, from Arbor Circle, are coming together in the effort. Cnossen said on any given night, 200 kids are in a situation of homelessness. However, they're not always easy to spot.

"People are more familiar with what adult homelessness looks like and youth homelessness has been largely hidden," Cnossen said. "Our youth are trying to go to school or hold down a job or raise their children and there's all kinds of fears about what it would mean if I were to disclose this."

Coming to the HQ is just a temporary fix, Soper said. While there, people can get the tools they need to work toward a better life.

"Harbor Circle, if you look right back there in that suite, will have their own offices so they can do case management and housing referrals and trauma counseling and working with kids toward their GED's and job training."

The HQ is expected to open in the summer. Kids can come in after school until 6:30 p.m. Programs will be offered from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Mars Hill Bible Church is putting up the initial money for the building, renovation and program. Soper said they'll get additional funding but that they'll also need help from local organizations.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.