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COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)

CERA can provide rental and utility assistance for eligible renter households so that they retain their housing stability.

  • The tenant only needs to be in rental arrears, so no court notice is required for this funding.
  • Feel free to share the flyers with your clients. 
  • Updated information is available at www.kentrenthelp.org . Households in need of assistance can also call 877.ERA.KENT.
  • The Website redirects you to www.endhomelessnesskent.org if the above website does not work and the application  portal is up and running.
  • Paper applications can also be printed at MSHDA – COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) (michigan.gov)  and dropped off at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan (1204 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI), The Salvation Army (located at Fuller and Fulton St.), or the  Kent County Community Action Agency (KCCA) at 82 Ionia St., Suite 390.
  • Tenants can also walk into any of the agencies listed above for assistance with applying for the rental assistance.
  • Clients and agency partners can also scan & email applications to kent.rent@usc.salvationarmy.org.
  • The anticipated processing time for CERA funding is 30 days.
  • There is no receipt provided when an application is submitted to the portal. If clients have questions regarding their application, they can call 877-ERA-KENT to confirm the status.
  • CERA funds can be used to cover rent and/or utilities (gas, electric, water).  If the client is not behind on utilities, the payment will be made to give them a credit on their account.

KCAD graduate students design/build raised beds for OKT

On April 19, a group of graduate architecture students at Kendall College of Art and Design designed and built five large and two small raised garden-beds at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy. After filling with organic composted soil, Our Kitchen Table Program for Growth participants planted the beds with organic vegetable starter plants on April 23 and 24.

Now the Program for Growth has even more space to grow nutritious food for students at school, their families and people in the neighborhood!

Special thanks to Stephanie Balke, owner, Balke Planning & Designs and Quentin Rauch, president, American Institute of Architecture Students.

Spoken word poem shares the deadly legacy of “400 Years” of sugar

Spoken word artist Té Speight, just released this brand-new video short.

Té’s powerful poem “400 Years” delivers a truth-to-power message from his personal experience and perspective.

Please take a minute to watch it. If you love it like I do, please pass it along to others! Here are those links for FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

The piece offers a fresh and unique take on the infamous history of sugar as a commodity, and speaks directly about the soda industry’s aggressive marketing tactics toward the Black community.

Youth Summer Jobs Opportunity

Ages 15 – 24. Application deadline Friday, April 30. Apply HERE.

Building on the success of employing more than 350 youth last summer, the City and area businesses – are poised to employ 650 Grand Rapids residents ages 15 to 24 beginning June 14.

GRow1000 will offer young people 120-hour work experiences over six weeks from June 14 through July 23. Youth participants will work 20 hours each week earning $10 an hour for those under 18 and $13 an hour for those 18 and older. To participate, individuals must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be between 15 and 24 years old as of June 14
  • Live in the city of Grand Rapids
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S.

Youth may apply now through Friday, April 30, HERE. Required paid training begins May 18. Bus passes will be available as needed.  As the employer of record, the City will process youth applications and match them to available positions.

“We know planning for the summer seems so far in the distance especially with these cold temperatures so youth may not realize that summer is actually right around the corner,” said Shannon Harris, interim executive director of Our Community’s Children. “This is why we’re extending the youth application date to Friday, April 30th. This will be an experience they will never forget, and it just may be what’s needed to ignite their dreams.”

Participants in GRow1000 will have the opportunity to gain work experience and social capital in the following sectors: local government, manufacturing, healthcare, construction, youth development, community development, tech, video production, finance, the arts, public relations, higher education and more. This accounts for 450 jobs with more registering daily.

More than 60 businesses and organizations have committed to hosting a GRow1000 youth and an additional 21 businesses, foundations and individuals have committed to supporting the program financially.

City partners with local employers to launch summer youth jobs program

The City of Grand Rapids today announced the launch of the 2021 Grow1000 youth employment program. Building on the success of employing more than 350 youth last summer, the City and area businesses – are poised to employ 650 Grand Rapids residents ages 15 to 24 beginning June 14.

GRow1000 will offer young people 120-hour work experiences over six weeks from June 14 through July 23. Youth participants will work 20 hours each week earning $10 an hour for those under 18 and $13 an hour for those 18 and older. To participate, individuals must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be between 15 and 24 years old as of June 14
  • Live in the city of Grand Rapids
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S.

“We appreciate the community’s support in making this program possible,” said Mark Washington, city manager. “Providing meaningful work is important in helping our youth stay productive and build skills during the summer. There are more than 9,000 youth in Grand Rapids between the ages of 15 and 21. Nearly three quarters (73%) are under the age of 18 and are persons of color.  Investing in GRow1000 means investing in our community’s future!” added Washington. 

Youth may apply now through April 19 HERE. Required paid training begins May 18. Bus passes will be available as needed. As the employer of record, the City will process youth applications and match them to available positions.  Businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in one of two ways:

  • Provide paid job or internship experiences. Total amount per youth placement is $1,600 (under 18) and $2,000 (18 and older).
  • Provide financial contributions to support placement of youth at local nonprofit organizations. Individuals are also welcome to donate.

For more information, to register as an employer, or to donate, CLICK HERE.

“Great cities have strong summer youth programs,” said Fred Keller, founder/chair, Cascade Engineering and one of the business leaders of the GRow1000 program. “This is an important moment for business to partner with our city to show our youth the future opportunities and experiences they may have right here in our community,” said Keller.

Last summer, GRow1000 helped employ 354 youth at more than 60 unique job sites that spanned area businesses, nonprofit organizations, health care and higher education institutions, and government.

Businesses and organizations that have committed to GRow1000 to date are:

  • Amway Corporation
  • Autocam Medical
  • Behler-Young Company
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cascade Engineering
  • City of Grand Rapids
  • Celebration Cinema
  • Crowe
  • Crystal Flash
  • Davenport University
  • DeVos Family Foundations
  • Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.
  • EuzenConnect
  • First National Bank of Michigan
  • Fox Motors
  • Flexco
  • Frey Foundation
  • Fusion Education Group
  • Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
  • Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce
  • Jireh Metal Products
  • Kent County
  • Kent County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Kent County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mary Free Bed
  • Meijer
  • Metro Health
  • MSU College of Human Medicine
  • NN Mobile Solutions
  • Nucraft Furniture
  • Progressive AE
  • Renaissance Church
  • Rockford Construction
  • RoMan Manufacturing, Inc.
  • SeyferthPR
  • Spectrum Health
  • Terryberry
  • The Factory
  • The Right Place, Inc.
  • Trillium Investments
  • Warner Norcross + Judd
  • Wege Foundation
  • West Michigan Works!
  • W.K. Kellogg Trustee Donor Advised Fund of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation
  • Xpressions Christian Dance Arts Academy