Creating A Community: A Look at Heartside Ministry

Though not a homeless shelter, Heartside Ministry is full of resources to help those in need. They provide free services in support of giving everyone a chance at improving themselves in whichever area the individual feels is beneficial, whether that need includes gaining an education through their GED program, attending support groups or counseling services, having a place to express themselves through art, writing or just having access to a safe space. 

Heartside Ministry is a non-profit organization dedicated to reaching out to the homeless and other in-need citizens of an intentional community that have learned to care for and accept one another.

Something unique about this organization is how much the community participates in and contributes to each area of the organization. There are people in staff positions who previously attended Heartside solely for the support,but many of the volunteers come for support as well. Their publication, Spoon, is made up entirely of prose and poetry written by members of the Heartside community.

“It’s important that we meet people where they are at,” says art coordinator, Sarah Scott. Everyone who makes up the Heartside community comes from different backgrounds and areas of life. They all have unique stories and differing levels of talent and experience in many areas, so meeting people where they are is crucial for creating a safe and inclusive environment. Everyone has a story that is worth telling, and Heartside emphasizes allowing and encouraging individuals to share their important stories.

Other programs that make this non-profit stand out are its attempts to teach those outside the Heartside community. Their Urban Plunge program gives others from different walks of life an opportunity to get a glimpse of what homelessness is like. Additionally, this organization is partnered with other non-profits with similar goals of supporting those who are in need, such as Degage Ministries, God’s Kitchen, Mel Trotter and several other organizations that desire to help with the needs for clothing, public transportation, food, shelter and health services.

Heartside Ministry is currently located on Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. In the next year, they plan to move to a new building, upgrading to a two-story location elsewhere on Division in order to further their success as a productive and welcoming non-profit.