Grand Rapids, Michigan. Michigan. The Families in Transition Program (FIT)
in Grand Rapids, Michigan, helps move high-risk families with children toward
stability, self-sufficiency and permanent housing. Scattered-site housing
in neighborhoods throughout the city, coupled with the appropriate supportive
services, attracts the participation of homeless families who are reluctant
to join a structured social services program or who have been prohibited
from joining because of factors such as erratic rental histories, substance
abuse or poor credit standing.
To date, 90 high-risk households with 215
Gail Douglas and Ron Eberhardt receiving
Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez
family members have entered the program and
receive housing and supportive services. Of the 67 families who have graduated
from the program since its beginning three years ago, 52 families have found
permanent housing. Twenty-five of the 67 families leaving the program are living
in their own unsubsidized permanent housing, and 9 families are living in
their own homes with the help of Section 8 assistance.
Supportive services during the 24-month program
include case management, employment training and placement, transportation,
substance abuse treatment and specialized counseling for abused women and
children. Because of the lack of affordable public transportation in the
Grand Rapids area, Community Rebuilders, the grantee as well as the sponsor
for this project, has an automobile leasing and rental program to help participants
during the 24 months of the program. Automobiles, serviced by volunteer
mechanics, are available for lease to participants who have demonstrated
responsible behavior, are employed and are insurable.
The beneficiaries of the program are homeless
families with children, the majority of whom are female-headed households.
Some of the families are victims of domestic violence, and many are trapped
in alcohol or drug addiction. The FIT program fills a need for transitional
housing for intact and large families. The only other programs that serve
intact families are emergency shelters. FIT also fills a need for housing
for the families that other programs refuse to accept because they have
too many problems. During the first 32 months of operation, the FIT program
received referrals for 446 families.
Contact: Ron Eberhardt, Phone: (616) 458-5102
Tracking Number: 1957
Winning Category: Geographic