Hello, neighbor! You’re welcome to jump right into information about public safety and making the neighborhood look great. If there’s anything you need from the City, you can call 3-1-1 or check out your options online. Below you’ll find a variety of resources/services (plus you might want to check the amenities listed on the neighborhood page and/or give a call to 2-1-1, the United Way’s First Call for Help). If you have additional content to recommend, please let us know. When you have a chance, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and join our email list – because we can accomplish more together than any of us could do alone.
Income and Employment – Our neighbors at Thierica are always hiring. Down the hill, you might try Gill Industries corporate headquarters, the new Embassy Suites, and of course our Michigan Street border is home to Grand Rapids’ largest employer, Spectrum Health. If you’re willing to travel a bit further afield, a neighbor recommends JELD-WEN. You can always search MiTalent.org and brush up your skills with Michigan Works.
Housing – If you rent, be sure to check out Tenants and Landlords, A Practical Guide. Both renters and homebuyers can learn from the Fair Housing Center as well. Questions regarding service animals are currently quite common. New Development Corporation rehabs houses for sale to income-eligible homebuyers in our neighborhood. Renters can find information for housing vouchers with the Kent County Housing Commission. Owner-occupants and renters (via their landlords) can benefit from the City of Grand Rapids’ Housing and Rental Rehabilitation Programs and Lead Hazard Reduction. More lead-safe information can be found at Get The Lead Out. Learn to do home improvement yourself at Home Repair Services’ free classes and/or receive income-eligible services. If you live north or east of Coit Park but west of Lafayette, you are likely in the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone and could apply for an exemption certificate connected with major repairs. The 61st District Court offers an Eviction Prevention Program in partnership with The Salvation Army and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Low-income home owners can file for a Property Tax Poverty Exemption with the City annually.
Education – The elementary schools listed on the neighborhood page are Challenge Scholars schools – students who start at Union High School in 9th grade, remain there through graduation, do not have any 180 day expulsions, and keep their GPA at 2.0 or higher will get up to 2 years of tuition-free college at GRCC (after tuition and fees covered by Pell grants). Other great, free resources to keep learning include visiting the Grand Rapids Public Library’s downtown or Van Belkum branches near the neighborhood, improving your reading or speaking skills at the Literacy Center of West Michigan, and taking online courses through platforms like Coursera or EdX. Of course there are lots more colleges in town, too, including GVSU which has completed its master plan for building a health campus in our neighborhood.
Health – Low-income residents can find quality healthcare just north of the neighborhood at Catherine’s Health Center; they provide a list of related resources as well. Cherry Street Health Services operates a dental center at Belknap Commons. The North End Wellness Coalition e-publishes a bimonthly newsletter of healthy activities taking place in the Belknap and Creston neighborhoods, and launched the North Quarter Pathways last fall.
Early Childhood – It’s never too early to start: Spectrum Health’s Maternal Infant Health Program can help during pregnancy. Camp Fire West Michigan 4C has a broad resource list to use after birth. For child care close to home, Belknap Child Development Center is located at Belknap Commons; GRCC offers care as well.
Food Security – Fresh foods are regularly available outside the ROCK adjacent to Coit Church. You may also wish to visit St. Alphonsus’ Food and Clothing Center just outside the neighborhood. WIC and food stamps are two critical public resources. To find additional programs, we recommend using the online tools compiled by Feeding America West Michigan.
Financial empowerment – Find new articles regularly at MSU Extension; they also offer Dollar Works 2 classes. New Development Corporation has similar Money Smart courses which you can also find online at this link. Inner City Christian Federation offers homebuyer education.
Other – You may want consider resolving disagreements with the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan. Hope Network offers services in a number of areas. Seniors can find additional resources through the Area Agency on Aging.