The call came to us late on a Friday. A mother and her children were running for their lives—terrified and hungry. With homeless shelters full and service providers closed for the weekend, we put the family in a hotel until Monday. Hotels can trigger stress from previous abuse and are never our first choice, but we had no other option.
Another mother with children desperately needed a home to rent. It took our program director hundreds of calls, emails, and meetings to find them a tiny apartment. These true stories should never have happened. When at-risk women and families need housing, they need it now—not after months in a hotel, in a car, or under a bridge.
- The single biggest need for women in our local program is housing.
- Shelters are often full and can feel unsafe to a woman or family in crisis.
- Monthly rent for a 3-bedroom unit in Grand Rapids averages $900-$1200.
- Many landlords stipulate an income of 3.3 times the rent amount. To qualify for a $900/mo unit, a single mom working 40 hours per week would need to earn $18 per hour.
- Grand Rapids’ vacancy rate is currently less than 4%.
- Locally, the wait for low-income housing is 3 months to 10 years; some programs are currently closed to new applicants.
We desire to provide temporary shelter for survivors in crisis and affordable housing for at-risk families in our programs. Shelter is the first step toward a secure life; long-term housing is the next step in the journey to a sustainable future.
We envision a small community complex with emergency units, long-term units, a family center, and an on-site program manager. Designed especially for at-risk women and families, it would be large enough to allow personal space, yet small enough to foster a sense of community.
We are appointed to “loose the chains of injustice…set the oppressed free and…provide the poor wanderer with shelter”. As an international nonprofit, WAR, Int’l works to meet these needs locally while helping our partners abroad meet global needs.
Our goal is to raise $1,000,000 for local and international programs–$500,000 for partnering organizations and $500,000 for emergency and long-term housing in the Grand Rapids area. As funds come in, we will look for a building or buildings to purchase and renovate.
Give at-risk women a place to call home by helping this dream become a reality. A matching grant of up to $100,000 for this project doubles your donation through 2018!