Over the past few years, Grand Rapids has seen an increase in efforts to help an often over-looked homeless population: youth.

Several organizations are adding or increasing services to help homeless youth with the unique challenges they face.

One of the newest projects is the Covenant House Michigan - Grand Rapids (CHMGR) youth shelter

The new three-story, 15,000-square-foot youth shelter received the green light in January from the city of Grand Rapids to move forward with construction.

The faith-based nonprofit Covenant House Michigan is behind the project, which will be built next to Covenant House Academy Grand Rapids, 50 Antoine St. SW, also operated by the organization.

The shelter is expected to break ground this summer and be operational by early next year.

Pam Spaeth, director at CHMGR, said the shelter will serve up to 28 people at a time, ages 18-24, all of whom will receive a private room during their stay at the shelter.

There will be 14 rooms on one floor reserved for females and 14 rooms on another floor reserved for males.

Spaeth said the first floor will be dedicated to programming and the second and third floors will have a lounge, café, cyber stations, private rooms and bathroom suites.

“This building is built with the intent and utmost respect for homeless youth who enter our program,” Spaeth said.

The goal of the shelter is not just to provide a safe space for youth to spend their nights but also to address physical and mental health issues, employment barriers and, ultimately, to help them find housing at the conclusion of the 90-day program.

To read the entire story, visit the Grand Rapids Business Journal's website or pick up a copy of this week's paper.

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