To make residents safer during the COVID-19 pandemic, a downtown Grand Rapids nonprofit is moving its women’s shelter to an area hotel.
Dégagé Ministries last week that it has transferred all women who are staying in its Open Door Women’s Center to an undisclosed local hotel.
Although no problems existed at Degage’s 144 S. Division Ave. location, agency officials said moving the women would reduce the risk to the greatest extent possible for the program’s current patrons.
Staff will continue to provide 24/7 care and support for the women.
“As we continue to adjust our programming and policies to ensure that all patrons are safe while on our property, it was in everyone’s best interest to have the women reside in the safest setting as possible as we stay home and stay safe together,” said Marge Palmerlee, executive director at Dégagé Ministries. “We are doing our part to reduce the risk of exposure for some of our most vulnerable populations.”
The Open Door Women’s Center at Dégagé provides a safe haven during the overnight hours to adult women in crisis. Staff is available during the day to assist with setting goals and exploring options for securing permanent sustainable housing, and women are encouraged to make positive lifestyle changes.
The Open Door provides services for female residents of Kent County who are 18 years of age and older.
The building’s first-floor dining room and community center remains open, allowing 50 people inside at a time using social distancing rules.
The kitchen, which is providing free breakfast and dinner to-go meals each day, also remains open under social distancing rules. The ministry is serving twice and up to three times the amount of meals as it normally does.
“All of our patrons deserve dignity and respect,” Palmerlee said. “We feel it’s upon us to be proactive and fulfill our mission of demonstrating Christ’s love for one another by taking these measures.”