Friday, March 4, 2011

lets start from the bottom

My first visit at the Holland Rescue Mission was at the shelter for men, where I met with Rachael. I was able to talk with her and get some good information, as well as a nice tour of the building.

The men's shelter is located in downtown Holland, and has different programs on each floor level. We'll start with the bottom level because that's where the men begin the program, and, well.... it's the most shocking.

The Emergency Shelter is on the first floor, which is where the Mission provides housing, basic needs, guidance, encouragement and support to the homeless of Ottawa and Allegan counties. 

In this program, the men have to search for employment and housing, deal with barriers such as addiction, legal problems, criminal background checks, etc., meet regularly with a case manager, attend Chapel, abide curfews and cooperate with random drug and alcohol testing.

I used the word "shocking" earlier because this is where the men stay in the Emergency Shelter Program:

Not a lot of privacy, only a small locker to store belongings, no room between you and your neighbor. And they are almost full every night.  

And there are sixty beds.

The men have to be in the room at a certain time, and out by a certain time each day. This is the space they have to call their own.

They can complete this program when there is a mutual agreement between the client and the Case Manager that there has been satisfactory progress and program goals have been accomplished. 

And still, sitting here writing this now, I'm in shock. Because I can't imagine life here, like this. But I'm thankful for this program, and the way it changes people. So along with the word shock, I have to say amazing. This is a safe, warm place for the men. This is a place they get encouragement and support from people who want to help them start over. 

This is where their new life begins. 

Stay tuned for the next post to see where the guys go from here.

If you'd like to donate to the Mission, click here to make a financial donation. Or email me if you'd like to donate food to the can drive this month at   

Be the change. Make the difference. 


  1. Nice post Jess. Count me in for food.

    Will you help me with my blog layout? I like yours.

  2. Sounds good! Yes I will help you too :) Can't wait to see you Tuesday!