Mel Trotter Ministries
May 17, 2011
Mel Trotter is one of a very few such programs in the Grand Rapids, Mi. area. Due to a medical condition which lead to extended unemployment and loss of my home, I was forced to go to the Mel Trotter woman's shelter for a short period of time. Mind you, I am not ungrateful for their helping hand in my time of need, however, I was very disappointed at the level of service afforded to homeless women and children that pass through their doors as opposed to the men and drug program women. Women in the drug rehabilitation program are given many support services, medical care, transitional housing referrals and a variety of amenities to enable them to get a more solid foundation under their feet before being put back into society. If you are simply homeless, with or without children, your are literally entitled to "two hots and a cot." That is to say, if your schedule and appointments allow, breakfast is available at 7 am every morning for 1/2 an hour, and dinner is available at 5:15pm until 5:45. If you are unable to make these times, you and possibly your children will simply not be eating. The thing I found most troubling was the stringent rule of putting everyone, regardless of age, health condition and even weather conditions, out into the street promptly at 8 am until 4 pm into what is known as the Heartside area, which for those unfamiliar is the most concentrated area for homeless, addicted, and mentally challenged people in the city. They are not afforded bus passes to get around safely, nor are they given referrals to any other housing resources even though Kent county is the most abundant in the state of Michigan. It is not only unchristian how the homeless women and children are handled by staff, but it is simply irresponsible, and puts women and children at serious risk, and vulnerability.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
If in severe crisis and you literally have no place to go, Mel Trotter is an open door that will provide a roof over your head and provide food and clothing if necessary.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would like to see more emphasis on referrals for transitional and permanent housing for area women and children. I would also like to see more in-house activity giving more direction to those who do not know how to find and use local resources. I also would like to see staff members routinely reminded that the people who come through their doors were not always in this position and deserve to be treated with respect and consideration for their situation.
Client Served & I sought and distributed resource materials to the other residents of the shelter to try to help them as much as possible.
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