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New emergency shelter opening in Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids from the 28th floor by rkramer62 is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

A new emergency shelter will soon open in downtown Grand Rapids, with up to 100 beds.

The shelter will be in an old retail space in the Heartside neighborhood downtown. Two existing shelters – Mel Trotter and Guiding Light, are working together to open up the space.

It’s across the street from Heartside park, where there’s been a growing tent encampment. Camping in a city park isn’t allowed, and it’s cold outside.

But Stuart Ray of Guiding Light says there are worse options.

"I would much rather have them in community than scattered in dark alleyways," said Ray.

Ray and the leader of Mel Trotter ministries say the need for shelter is up this year, and they need more community support to ensure no one is forced to sleep outside in the cold.