For over 36 years and growing, Well House has provided safe and affordable housing to homeless and disenfranchised folks right here in the Grand Rapids. We have currently helped move over 5000 people out of homelessness and into a more secure, sustainable mode of living. We are excited to continue this legacy!
Marian Clements first opened Well House in 1977. Battling depression in her personal life and unemployment in her professional life, she felt inspired to lift herself out of despair and stand on her own feet. A Quaker community helped her find refuge during this time and she soon opened her home and heart to those in need of comfort and protection. Marian emphasized living respectfully of both the Earth and one-another, attempting to live as sustainably as possible. For 19 years her work inspired the community and touched the lives of residents and neighbors alike and her influence continues to this day.
In 2012 Tami VandenBerg became Executive Director of Well House and she is excited to continue Marian’s visionary work. Tami has gathered a new team of brilliant, passionate people that aspire to build community and provide refuge for the the weary.
Well House’s new team focuses on meeting people in their present situations. Recognizing that a “one-size-fits-all” model is not the most effective tactic to addressing homelessness, Well House has a come-as-you-are policy that utilizes a harm-reduction model. This allows folks to find safe, stable, and supportive space to address issues like addiction or emotional illness.
The Well House community has a vision of a vibrant and sustainable future in which neighborhoods are connected by land and the food grown from it, people, and culture. The Urban Farming initiative at Well House feeds residents, provides them with opportunities for income, and connects them with the surrounding community. Jeff and Camilla host workshops sharing skills like mushroom inoculation, building raised-bed gardens, and promoting Food Justice. These workshops are open to the community and provide a great way to connect with residents and staff. You can also find out more about our staff residents in upcoming newsletters.
We have exciting plans for the future! Though donations from generous and caring patrons like you, Well House intends to renovate a newly acquired home at 632 Cass and move folks out of homelessness. We also have plans to acquire more homes, expand services offered to residents (including an exercise room),and purchase nearby unused lots in oder to expand our gardens and feed more of the neighborhood.
We are committed to building a safe, inclusive, and sustainable community, as well as provide a home to anyone without shelter. This happens only through the generous efforts of donors and volunteers like you.
Thank you for your continued support!
~Well House Staff and Residents