Published in Rapid Growth Media
December 3, 2015
|From left, Sergio Cira Reyes, Andrew Sisson, Karl Williams and Katie Booms.|
Photo by Adam Bird
, Cira-Reyes explains, is a collaborative of organizations that support the residents and causes of the Westown community. The collaborative was founded in 2011 to bring equity, inclusion and hope to the West Side.
Facilitated with the help of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) consultant Wayne Squires, funding for the collaborative was sought from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and several other organizations. Partners now include Other Way Ministries, Westown Jubilee Housing, Habitat for Humanity Kent County, Servants Community Church, the Grand Rapids Public Library, Gold Avenue Church, John Ball Area Neighbors, Esperanza Covenant Church, Downtown YMCA, Bridge Street House of Prayer, Keystone Community Church, West Grand Neighborhood Organization, and other groups.
developments have been replacing them. Houses that were once owned by individuals and families—and sometimes rented out by them—are now often owned by people living in other areas, and rental properties are run by property management companies. Their goal is to earn top dollar for the property owner.
particularly hard-hit, Cira-Reyes and Sisson state, while those with felonies in their histories are unable to find a place to live, let alone a living.