Kent County Salvation Army assistance programs.

The Salvation Army of Kent County provides many social services to the needy. They assist with housing needs by offering heating bill or rent help as part of Housing First. There is also a food pantry in Grand Rapids, a computer lab, and tax preparation services. Dial 1-800-887-1107 for the latest list of resources available, or use

Many of the assistance programs in Grand Rapids are run in partnership with other agencies. The Salvation Army partners with churches, the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness, Inner City Christian Federation, the United Way and many others. All of these groups work to help low income families, no matter their religion or age.

The non-profit is part of the local Housing First program. There are several agencies that work together on this. The Kent County Salvation Army will put clients into contact with Housing Resource Specialists (HRS) that assist in a crisis. This resources gives clients many solutions, including the following.

Emergency financial aid is available. It is intended to help keep a family in their home or apartment. The Salvation Army can offer grants for paying security deposits or first months rent. There is also utility bill help (mostly for heating costs). Or seek a grant to pay any back rent. All of these forms of temporary assistance are combined with advice, counseling, and more from Housing First.

There are three specialty services offered too. Single moms can get short term housing (or rent help) from Kindred First. Or, when a client has an income, Keys First provides assistance in find, and paying for housing. Whether it is a legal review of a lease, loans for paying bills, or utility/rental deposit help, there are resources available.

The third option known as HAP (Housing Assessment Program) is a strength based approach. Kent County Salvation Army case workers meet with applicants. They take a holistic approach. HAP will touch on everything including how to improve education or job skills to budgeting, the importance of avoiding debt or living above means, and more. Seniors as well as the disabled in Grand Rapids can also learn about programs for them, including from the Congregational Partnership Program (CPP) or local supportive housing.





The Kent County Salvation Army food pantry is open 5 days per week, but note the site closes at noon on Friday. Using donations from the community, and support from Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank, allows it to help families that are facing an emergency. Also find additional Michigan food pantries.

When seeking items from the food bank, bring Social security cards, photo identification, any relevant copy of school IDs, medical cards, income information, and birth certificates are valid for children. Based on donations, there will healthy and canned food. Items may include Frozen meat, Canned low sodium vegetables, pasta, crackers, dairy, brown rice, and more.

Free Christmas meals, toys and food is part of their holiday assistance program. The Grand Rapids Salvation Army and the United Way provide this resource to very low income families as well as the elderly. Applicants can be given free toys or food boxes, meals, and much more. Some applicants are given vouchers to shop at a local store for their holiday gifts. The Essential Needs Task Force of Kent County also encourages the use of vouchers for critical household supplies.

Pathway of Hope from the Salvation Army is holistic case management. Using staff from the office as well as nonprofits including the Grand Rapids Urban League, this multiple month program maps out a process for stability. There is a network of support given from the case management. Pathways of Hope also helps parents with kids under the age of 18, and components of it are referrals to childcare.

There are two other assistance programs available in Grand Rapids Michigan. The Salvation Army helps prepare (and file) income taxes. The other key social service is the use of a computer. Clients can use it to search for jobs or to access MI Bridges applications. This is how residents can applying for section 8 housing vouchers, SNAP food stamps, Medicaid, grants from SER, and cash aid too.




The two Salvation Army locations in Kent County are 1215 E. Fulton Grand Rapids, MI 49503 as well as 1120 Monroe NW Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503. Since the exact programs change and funding comes and goes, the telephone number is 1-800-887-1107.


By Jon McNamara

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