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Community Rebuilders roll out a new plan targeting homelessness by geographical location

Their plan is trying to find 60 homeless people housing by the New Year.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Community Rebuilders has been serving the Grand Rapids community for over 25 years, but this late fall they got some additional funding to try out a new approach. 

"Geographically targeted outreach is a method to really identify a target area where great impact can be made in a short period of time. Areas are prioritized based on multiple characteristics and they include everything from the size of the income area to the vulnerability to the populations that are living there on the streets. Resident and business goodwill and, really, overall public safety are some of the main considerations," said Community Rebuilders CEO Veera Beach.

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"Community rebuilders has successfully housed residents, close to several other encampments in our community. However, this is really the first time we've used a geographically targeted area and focused on a large area to address the issue was so many partners in our community. So it's very different going into a small encampment of maybe 10 to 12 people to really focusing on a large area, and a huge community impact when you're talking about 60 folks, visiting on the streets."

This project is partly being funding by the city's COVID-19 Relief fund. The pandemic created new challenges to a growing population that doesn't have the sanitary means to keep themselves safe.

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“So all of his work it's very much, driven by the fact that community health and well-being improves when people get housed, and we're preventing the spread," said Beach. "More people we can get off of the street, so what we're doing is once we connect with them on the street, we're using mobile devices to connect with them. We're doing virtual inspections of housing units and kicking off proposals to make sure that that we're safe as we do work, and that the safety of the community is taken into consideration. So a lot of virtual work is necessary and that means that we need to get cell phones and cell phones in the hands of many of the folks who are on the street don't have access to that. And so, you're also seeking funding to help be able to support some of those things.”

There goal is to get 60 homeless individuals into permanent housing by the New Year.

To check out the projects progress you can click here.

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