IMMEDIATE ACTIONS from the CITY:
- Temporary camera/trailer in place (with flashing blue lights that can be turned off at our discretion). This is a 1st in the city. It has 5 cameras with zoom, tilt, pano, record and real-time access by GRPD supervisors via an app.
- Reservoir Park will remain closed to all vehicles, now considered PERMANENT.
- Park lights will now be left on at night (a year ago we asked they be turned off at night).
- Parks will try and clean up the signage at the entrance to Reservoir Park, in order to make it look less chaotic.
- MobileGR will review past traffic (speed and volume) studies to be assured they represented prime traffic months (June-September).
INTERMEDIATE TERM ACTIONS from the CITY:
- Permanent CCTV in Reservoir Park (expected by ~ year-end).
- MobileGR: Will review and consider a special permit parking status for the 800 block of Fairview, sunset to sun-up.
LONG-TERM ACTIONS from the CITY:
- Parks Director Marquardt committed to putting Reservoir Park on the agenda for a full renovation. They will hire a consultant and engage the neighbors via Charrette(s) to begin the process.
SUGGESTED ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE:
- Keep your outside lights on at night, especially those closest to the park.
- Park your own vehicle along the 800 block of Fairview to reduce availability of spaces for the bad actors.
- Pick up trash, everyday if necessary. Trash begets trash.
- REPORT PARKING COMPLAINTS anytime. This website gives you all the options for reporting parking complaints 24/7. MobileGR can issue citations roughly 66 hours during the week. Police can issue parking citations anytime as they see them.
An accidental injury, also known as an unintentional injury, can involve trips, slips and falls, scalds, or burns, as well as fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. The most common type of accidental injury in children under 4 years old is unintentional falls. Some ways to prevent unintentional falls are to ensure that there are no holes in the flooring or carpet, no sagging in the flooring, no rotted supports or floorboards, and no questionable workmanship in the home. Scalds or burns are the second most common type of accidental injury in children under 4. This can include any type of hot object in the home, an electrical burn, and chemical burns. It is important to remember that fire is fast, hot, dark, and deadly. The leading cause of fires in the home are unattended cooking, which is responsible for 50% of house fires. Other sources of house fires can include heating methods such as space heaters, electrical issues, smoking, and open flames such as candles. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the third most common reasoning for accidental injury in kids under 4 in the home. Carbon monoxide has no color, odor, or taste making it difficult to detect. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea, dizziness, breathlessness, and loss of consciousness. The best ways to protect families from carbon monoxide poisoning are working fire and carbon monoxide detectors, having an exit plan in case of an emergency, and having appliances serviced by a qualified technician each year.
Asthma is defined as a long-term condition affecting the airways. It involves inflammation and narrowing inside the lungs, which restricts the air supply. Some symptoms of asthma are coughing, tightness in the chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, and increased mucus production. Currently, there are 5.1 million children under the age of 18 with asthma, and in 2019 about 47% of children under the age of 5 had an asthma attack. Despite asthma being able to be controlled, 50% of children have uncontrolled asthma. Asthma also affects Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous individuals at disproportionate rates, which is caused by systemic and structural racism. From 2008 to 2013 the annual economic cost of asthma was more than $81.9 billion, which includes medical costs and loss of work and school days. Medical costs for those with asthma are also over $3,000 higher per year compared to medical costs for people without asthma. Some asthma triggers in the home are pollen, dust, mold, smoke, and pet dander. Some ways to reduce asthma triggers and improve the indoor air quality in a home are to keep it dry by ventilating moist areas, controlling dust by vacuuming frequently with a HEPA grade filter, keeping the home pest free, monitored, and well ventilated.
Lead is a naturally occurring element found in the earth’s crust, and has been used in products such as gasoline, paint, and pipes. Children and pregnant women have the highest risk when it comes to lead exposure. In pregnant women, the lead can be released from the mothers’ bones and expose the fetus through the placenta or breast milk. This can create a risk for miscarriage, premature birth, slowed physical growth and impaired brain development, and affect the fetus’ kidneys and nervous system. In children, their brains and bodies are still developing, and they are more likely to put hands or other lead contaminated objects into their mouth or breathe it in lead more rapidly. This can create risks for developmental delays, learning difficulties, behavioral problems, seizures, anemia, and comas. Grand Rapids has one of the highest rates of Elevated Blood Lead Levels (EBLL’s) in Michigan. The leading cause of lead exposure in the home is lead dust from deteriorating paint. Lead-based paint can be found inside and outside the home, which can contaminate the soil and the dust. Some ways to reduce the risk of lead exposure can be to clean the high-risk areas with safe products, remove or repair furniture with peeling paint, moving furniture in front of areas with peeling paint to block access, and to remove shoes at the door to not track contaminated soil in the home.
The Bridge at Arbor Circle is a shelter for youth running away from home and/or experiencing homelessness. Young people ages 12-17 can stay for 21 days and receive a variety of services and get connected to resources. All of Arbor circles service options can be found on their website at arborcircle.org.
Some ways the youth at The Bridge stated they felt they wanted to be supported in their mental health was to be available to them and make it known you are approachable as someone to talk to, listen to them without interruption or judgment, and normalize their mental health struggles and stress without making them feel like an outcast. The biggest way someone can support youth going through a hard time is to validate their struggles and make their struggles feel real.
Some common stressors for teens include school demands and pressure, negative thoughts and feelings about themselves, problems with friends or peers, an unsafe living environment, and more. Some ways to offer support to teens who may be struggling involve listening to them without interruption, asking how they would like to be supported and be respectful of that, offering gentle encouragement, connecting them with other trusted adults such as at school, a coach, or another trusted family member, and decreasing the stigma against mental health. It is important to pay attention to what’s happening in a young person’s life and spend time learning about mental health issues among teens and what that may look like. Some specific things to look for include extreme irritability, a loss of interest in favorite activities, difficulty concentrating, excessive worry, changes in appetite, and isolating themselves.
Important ways to support kids in an elementary school setting with their mental health is to validate their feelings and let them know that it’s okay to experience many different emotions and encourage them to identify what they’re feeling and how others can help them. It is also important to connect with and educate parents on how they can support their child. Other ways to support kids in school settings are to connect them with trusted adults and being a trusted adult to them, advertise the services available at school and in the community for young people and families, and allow them to be themselves without judgment.
Church can be a great place for young people to come together and let out their emotions in a positive way, however, it is important to acknowledge that not all young people have the same beliefs and are on different paths in their faith journey. Creating a welcoming space for everyone and allowing for doors to be open despite where someone may be at in their faith is a large way the church and faith community can be supportive to youth who are struggling.
An important skill and practice that should be taken away from this presentation would be to amplify youth voices. When supporting youth, acknowledge what they want to work on, what their needs are, and be respectful of how they want to be supported.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) aims to prevent crime by designing
a physical environment that positively influences human behavior. It aims to accomplish this in 4
ways: Natural Surveillance, Territorial Reinforcement, Natural Access Control, and Maintenance.
Natural Surveillance looks at the design of physical features, activities, and people in a way that
maximizes visibility. This includes:
● Parking areas being visible from windows and doors
● Building entrances being visible
● Doors and windows of homes and buildings being unobstructed
● Pedestrian friendly sidewalks and streets
● Appropriate lighting
● Avoiding landscapes that might create blindspots
● Locating open green spaces and recreational areas so they are visible from nearby and
homes and streets
● Utilizing pedestrian scale street lighting (every 50ft) in high pedestrian traffic areas to
increase visibility and help recognize potential threats at night
Territorial Reinforcement looks at the physical design and attributes that express ownership or
territorial control. This includes:
● Fences that define property lines
● Landscaping for reinforcement
● The ability to define public spaces from private spaces
This allows legitimate users to develop a sense of territorial control. Potential offenders, while
perceiving this control, will be discouraged from committing illegal acts. However, if there is a
desire and opportunity anybody can become a victim anywhere.
Natural Access Control looks at how perpetrators of crime gravitate towards environments
where they can get in and out without being noticed, and how to prevent this which includes:
● Security cameras that are visible to potential intruders
● Walls and fences made of wrought iron
● A limited number of entrances and exits
● Easy to understand signs that discourage access to dangerous places
Finally, Maintenance involves the continued care and use of a space for its intended purpose.
Deterioration and blight may indicate less concern, therefore bring in more access to crime.
A variety of health insurance companies offer supplements to Medicare that open up the opportunity to receive many daily use items or activities for free. Shay Rapier at Wholistic Insurance Support has previously connected with other neighborhood associations and Catherine’s Health Center, and offers assistance examining your options.
Fair Housing Center of West Michigan
Mission: To prevent and eliminate illegal housing discrimination, ensure equal housing
opportunity, and promote inclusive communities.
● Conduct investigations of allegations
● Provide education to industry and homeseekers
What is Fair Housing?
The right to choose housing free from unlawful discrimination. Fair housing laws protect against
discrimination in any housing transaction including rentals, sales, mortgages insurance. Fair
housing also covers zoning and land use. Discrimination is illegal based on protected classes
under federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
What are Protected Classes?
● Federal and State:
○ Race, color, national origin, religion, gender including gender identity and sexual
orientation, disability status (physical or mental), familial status (presence of
○ Age and marital status
● Additional Protected Classes in the City of Grand Rapids
○ Creed, gender identity or expression, genotype, height, medical condition, source
of lawful income, sexual orientation, weight
○ Conviction Record: History of criminal conviction may be considered in housing
decisions, although arrest with no conviction may not be considered. Policies
should focus on risk to safety and/or property as well as the
nature/severity/recency of convictions on an individual assessment.
■ Can exclude if convicted of illegal drug manufacture or distribution.
Limits of Protections
Only groups specifically listed in the federal, state, and local Fair Housing Ordinances have
protection. All other classes are often not protected. This includes:
● Amount of income, credit history/score, rental history, homeless stats, veteran status
● Criminal Background Screening guidance exists for PHA’s and private market housing,
and sometimes is protected at the local level
What is Housing Discrimination?
Housing Discrimination is the unfair treatment because of a protected class. Unfair treatment
● Refusal to rent/sell after making a bona-fide offer based on one or more of the protected
classes, otherwise make unavailable or deny
● Discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of of sale or rental of a dwelling
● Make, print, or publish a notice or statement that indicates a discriminatory preference
● Falsely telling someone a dwelling is not for sale or rent
● Steering people toward or away from particular buildings, floors, neighborhoods
● Coercion, Intimidation, Harassment, Threats or Interference with anyone asserting a Fair
Housing right or assisting others who are exercising that right.
● Denial of reasonable modifications or reasonable accommodations for persons with a
disability and disability-related need.
What Information is necessary at what point?
Applications should collect information relevant to objectively determine whether or not an
individual qualifies for an available housing opportunity. Unlawful questions should not be asked
in person or on the application
Possible Housing Discrimination
● Requiring residents to have a job or work a certain number of hours
● Rejecting an application because of a “no felonies” policy
● Making rules only apply to kids or charging extra for kids
● Placing a limit on the number of children within a home
● Experiencing sexual harassment by a landlord or maintenance person
● Requiring attendance at religious services
● Only renting to adults or single mothers
● Putting people in certain buildings because of age, gender, children
Application of the Law
Fair housing laws require that each person is treated in an equal way by the institution
regardless of race, religion, age, sex, disability status, etc. A difference in treatment based on
any of these factors is the most important concept to understand when understanding fair
Those who qualify as a person with a disability under the Fair Housing Act have access to
reasonable accommodations, which is a change in any rule, policy, procedure, or service if the
changes are needed in order for a person with a disability to have equal access and enjoyment
of their housing.
Signs of Discrimination & Possible Housing Discrimination for Persons with Disabilities
● Refusal to rent or sell to because of a disability or relatives disability
● Being charged extra fees, such as extra deposit or higher rent
● Being asked for medical history to prove you have a disability or to prove you can live
● Refusal to rent because of disability-based income
● Asking for medical information with some exceptions for medical programs
● Requiring that someone be able to live without help or move because they need
● Charging a fee for or not allowing an emotional support animal
● Not allowing someone to put in a wheelchair ramp or grab bars
Families with Children
Occupancy may be reasonably limited based upon local health and safety codes, which housing
providers should calculate accordingly.
Housing Discrimination with Families with Children
● Refusal to rent or sell to a family because of the presence of children under age 18 or
● Denying families or children access to recreational facilities
● Imposing unreasonable rules because children are present, or imposing rules specifically
● Charging an extra fee per child or higher rent/deposit because of the presence of a child
● Charging rent per bedroom in a single family home
● Imposing different standards based on children’s ages
● Restricting families with children to certain floors or areas of a complex
● Placing a limit on the number of children within the home…
FHCWM Referral Procedures
FHCWM takes complaints and cases via phone, e-mail, letter, etc. at no cost. They accept
anonymous complaints and allegations of housing discrimination. It is important to note that they
are not attorney’s and cannot provide legal advice.
Visit http://www.fhcwm.org/ for more information.
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