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Town Hall Meeting in NE Grand Rapids a clear example of NIMBY: Part II

July 6, 2017

Last night, about 50 people gathered on the northeast side of Grand Rapids to get clarity on whether or not the Guiding Light Mission would be moving into the neighborhood.

As we reported two weeks ago, some neighbors living near the 3000 block of Coit St. were alarmed when the thought that the Guiding Light Mission was going to move into the area and use an abandoned building to house homeless people. Those involved in the organizing effort had a petition for people to sign that was in opposition to a building at 3019 Coit NE as a shelter.

You can see from the flyer here that those who organized the meeting still believed that the Guiding Light Mission was moving into the neighborhood. The person spearheading this campaign to keep the Guiding Light Mission out of the neighborhood, Mrs. Scott, asked 2nd Ward Commissioner Joe Jones to speak to the issue.

Commission Jones made it clear to everyone that based on a conversation he had with the director of the Guiding Light Mission, Stewart Ray, that the organization was not interested in moving to the building at 3019 Coit NE. In fact, Commissioner Jones said he received a signed statement from the Guiding Light Mission making it clear that they were not interested in moving. This signed letter was even shared with Mrs. Scott, who didn’t bother to mention the letter in her opening comments, nor did it have any impact on how she promoted the meeting.

In addition, Mrs. Scott kept saying that what she and others wanted was for the Veterans Home to use the building at 3019 Coit NE, despite the fact that the Vets facility had built a new clinic years ago in Wyoming, near Metro Hospital.

After a few minutes, a representative from Care Resources was invited to speak. The person with Care Resources made it clear that they had purchased the building, and baring any resistance from the State of Michigan, they would be moving into the facility, once it was upgraded.

Care Resources works with senior citizens to offer a variety of services to prolong the need for them to go into a nursing home facility. Care Resources offers rides to their facility, provides medical, therapeutic and social services to seniors and then provides transportation home.

This revelation was completely new to those in attendance, even though the flyer clearly states that a “potential buyer” would be attending the meeting. The representative from Care Resources made it clear that they would be investing roughly $4 million in the building and drastically improving the outside area, like removing the fencing and upgrading the landscaping to make the property more inviting to the neighborhood.

After all of this new information was shared, some people still were asking questions about the work of Care Services and “if they would be doing drug and alcohol treatment” in the facility at 3019 Coit NE. The person with Care Resources said they do offer that service, since all people, including seniors, have a percentage of individuals who are in recovery.

By this time, many people had left and more were becoming frustrated by the fact that that those with Care Resources were being questioned, despite the fact that what they would bring to the neighborhood would be great for everyone.

As we mentioned in the previous posting on this issue, there was plenty of racism attached to the opposition to Guiding Light Mission moving into the area. This time, there was a certain nativist attitude on display that some found to be frustrating and even insulting.

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