Housing support doubles at Grand Rapids nonprofit

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The need for housing support has doubled during the pandemic for a Grand Rapids nonprofit.

Family Promise of Grand Rapids is currently helping more than 80 families with emergency shelter. Two months ago, that number was around 70. 

“Which is more than double the normal number we see this time of year,” Family Promise CEO Cheryl Schuch told News 8. “This has been a really tough summer for families.”

One of the families the organization is currently supporting is the Johnsons. 

“I really don’t even call it homelessness,” Carrie Johnson told News 8. “A lot of people use that word and it makes people feel kind of lower than what they are, but I feel like as long as you have a shelter over your head, you’re not homeless.”

She’s working third shift full time to make ends meet for four boys. Remote learning for two of the boys will soon be added to their family schedule.

“My 6-year-old and 2-year-old both were diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at birth and I just have to keep them away from people,” Johnson explained. “If I send my other two to school then they can possibly get them sick.”

Right now, that’s the safest option because of COVID-19 concerns. 

“To think of doing that when you’re in a housing crisis, you’re working with multiple kids, juggling schedules. Trying to manage online learning from a hotel room, basically, right now it is almost insurmountable,” Schuch said. 

Thankfully the Johnsons are close to securing a new apartment. That’s not the case for every family the nonprofit is currently supporting, though.  

The best way people can support Family Promise’s mission is through financial donations or by checking their wish list on the agency’s website