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Community updates: Friday, July 24

Grand Rapids hospitals, agencies open free clinic to serve people experiencing homelessness; City of Grand Rapids sets timeline for considering budget changes that improve public safety; and Grand Rapids Ballet postpones 2020-21 season, will launch virtual performances.
Monroe Center St. NW in downtown Grand Rapids.

Monroe Center St. NW in downtown Grand Rapids. /Terry Johnston

Grand Rapids hospitals, agencies open free clinic to serve people experiencing homelessness

Six local organizations have joined together to provide free medical services for individuals experiencing homelessness in the Grand Rapids area.

Called the Community Partners Medical Clinic, the free clinic is located at Mel Trotter Ministries (MTM) downtown location at 225 Commerce Ave. SW. It opened July 8 and was announced by MTM on Wednesday.

The clinic aims to help its patients live healthier lives, treat acute and chronic conditions, reduce gaps in care, and reduce unnecessary EMS and emergency room contacts.

In providing medical services, MTM is joined by Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, University of Michigan’s Metro Health, Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, and Spectrum Health.

We are excited about this unique collaboration in bringing together the healthcare systems, nonprofits, and universities to serve the medical needs of our communities most vulnerable,” said Adrienne Goodstal, MTM’s VP of Community Engagement and Advocacy. “We truly believe that there needs to be a holistic approach in caring for the homeless population and the medical care is a key factor in people moving forward.”

The partnering organizations will each provide a practitioner to be onsite at MTM one day per week. The clinic’s open Monday through Thursday from 3-7pm. Walk-ins are accepted and patients are encouraged to make make an appointment by phone if possible. The clinic can be reached by phone at 616-588-8791, Monday through Friday between 1-7pm.

More details about MTM’s free services for individuals experiencing homelessness are available on the Get Help page on its website.


City of Grand Rapids sets timeline for considering budget changes that improve public safety

City Manager Mark Washington announced a timeline on Thursday for strategic considerations to improve public safety that may impact the city’s 2020-2021 budget.

The timeline set out by Washington aims for a “performance-based budget deliberation” that maintains alignment with the city’s strategic plan, a City of Grand Rapids statement said.

August 11 is the start of the timeline, with Police Chief Eric Payne presenting the Grand Rapids Police Department’s (GRPD) new draft strategic plan on this day. Based on community and City Commission feedback, Payne will provide an update on the strategic plan September 29.

Important dates and timeframes beyond this are:

  • August-September: City staff will present a fiscal year (FY) 2020 performance management update to highlight strategic plan progress made by the City of Grand Rapids between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
  • December 15: Washington will propose any mid-year budget amendments as needed.
  • February 2021: City staff will provide a FY 2021 mid-year performance management update.
  • April 2021: Washington will propose the city’s FY 2022 preliminary fiscal plan.
  • May 2021: The City Commission will vote on the FY 2022 fiscal plan.

“With respect to the police department, we are exploring how we can start innovative initiatives and investments in new initiatives, such as the partnership with governmental behavioral mental/health organizations and a crime prevention strategy,” Washington said.

Earlier this month, Washington proposed and the City Commission approved a budget amendment that reallocated $403,000 of the GRPD’s budget to support increased investment in the Office of Oversight and Public Accountability and related efforts. Voting against the amendment were commissioners Milinda Ysasi and Senita Lenear, who didn’t believe the cut went far enough to satisfy their constituents calling for a $9 million reduction in the police budget.

Washington has said budget amendments of a $9 million magnitude should not be made ad hoc during the year, and are “better made and more strategic as mid-year budget amendments or as part of the annual budget proposal process,” according to the City of Grand Rapids’ Wednesday statement.

More details about the City of Grand Rapids’ timeline for considering budget changes are available on its website.


Grand Rapids Ballet postpones 2020-21 season; will launch virtual performances

Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB) has postponed its 2020-2021 in-person live programming due to the coronavirus pandemic, it announced. In its place will be a season of virtual performances.

In the next few weeks, we will announce the structure of the new reimagined 2020-21 season, including information on how to purchase a subscription or individual tickets,” said GRB’s Artistic Director, James Sofranko.

“If we are able at any point throughout the 2020-21 season to safely bring patrons back to our theater for in-person live performances, we will do so.”

For those who purchased a 2020-21 season subscription, it will automatically be shifted to the 2021-22 season with no price increase or loss of preferred seating. They will also receive first opportunity to purchase any in-person live programming the organization is able to present this season.

Updates about GRB’s virtually reimagined 2020-21 season will be available on its website.


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