Dégagé Ministries cuts ribbon on new expansion

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Courtesy Dégagé Ministries

A nonprofit serving individuals experiencing homelessness recently unveiled the beginning of its $7.5 million expansion.

Dégagé Ministries on Monday, June 13, cut the ribbon on the first phase of a $7.5 million campaign to expand its property at 144 S. Division Ave. in downtown Grand Rapids.

The recent renovations will enable the organization to move its main entrance from the congested Division Avenue/Cherry Street intersection to the more pedestrian-friendly Sheldon Boulevard. 

This is the first phase of the shelter’s Building Dignity through Christ capital campaign and includes a new community center and an expanded dining room to serve 90,000 meals a year, creating a 50% increase in capacity from 120 to 180 seats. These additions now are open to the public. 

Additional renovations and structures are planned in the coming year to increase the organization’s capabilities and expand its footprint along Cherry Street SE.

Former Executive Director Marge Palmerlee started the campaign in 2020. The project was continued after her retirement under current Executive Director Thelma Ensink. 

“Our patrons who come to us seeking rest, nourishment, support and guidance deserve a space that offers all of those things in a dignified and beautiful setting,” Ensink said. “Our new community center and dining room, as well as the future new offerings in this expanded space, will truly help us support people on their journey toward wholeness and provide a place to build lasting relationships.”

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction is the general contractor for the renovations, with Century A&E of Grand Rapids Charter Township providing architectural oversight. Holland-based Macatawa Bank is providing financing, and Portage-based The Barton Group serves as construction consultant.

More renovations are scheduled to be completed in 2022. 

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