Steepletown Neighborhood Services assistance programs.

Steepletown Neighborhood Services is one of the leading agencies in Kent County to call, and the agency can provide their own support from Community Assistance Program (CAP) or refer low income families to state benefits from DHS. The goal is to help low income families and those that are struggling in Kent County to overcome their hardship.

Both hope and compassion can be provided to working poor individuals and families residing in the community. Resources from the non-profit can create a foundation for struggling people, and this can break the cycle of poverty or homelessness. Using a neighbor helping neighbor concept as well as donations from the community, Steepletown Neighborhood Services offers a variety of resources and solutions to promote stability and independence.

Community Assistance and financial help from Steepletown Neighborhood Services

The main programs available at Steepletown Neighborhood Services include the CAP which focuses on the needs of low-income, struggling clients. After making an appointment, individuals will need to meet with Steepletown staff to review and form an individualized plan of action.

This may entail staff finding local charitable agencies or making referrals in order for clients to receive direct assistance for their living expenses or bills. Applications are completed and submitted together in an effort to ensure the process is done correctly and all benefits are received in a timely manner. Examples may be emergency rental assistance in Kent County.

Steepletown also works closely with the Kent County Department of Human Services (DHS) to coordinate financial aid and also serve as a navigation site. This collaboration allows applicants to resubmit as well as update paperwork and applications for assistance while on-site at the center.





Educational services for kids, adults and older youth

Another service available at Steepletown is the preschool, and this will provide a full-day program on most days of the week for low-income parents in need of safe and affordable childcare. This service focuses centrally on ensuring kindergarten readiness, and this is done in order for the children to transition smoothly into the school system.

Teachers and staff from Steepletown Neighborhood Services work with and support the parents through interactive, year-round events and activities to help create a solid foundation for their children thrive on while attending school. Those eligible for the program from the preschool are offered these services in the form of a scholarship.

For youth under 25 who have a strong desire to complete their GED, Steepletown offers this service too in the form of Preparation and Tutoring Courses. Each participant is evaluated and assessed to tailor their course work at their academic level. In turn, they may attend afternoon or morning sessions, working and studying until they are at a sufficient or passing level to take the GED exam.

There is also a literacy program available for eligible, Spanish-speaking adults in Kent County who wish to participate in an ESL program to increase their literacy skills while living in the United States. This Steepletown Neighborhood Services sponsored program is called La Plaza Comunitaria and was created in partnership with Grand Valley State University. In addition to the ESL classes, eligible candidates also have the opportunity to earn their high school diploma.





Steepletown Neighborhood Services Legal Aid

Free legal services for low-income residents in Kent County is available at the Tenants’ Rights Project. This service was made possible through partnerships with a variety of local community agencies including Cooley Law School, Davenport University, Grand Rapids Urban League and volunteer pro-bono work from local attorneys.

Legal support gives income qualified individuals and families a great opportunity to find answers or resources for all their pending financial or housing concerns such as paying rent, unsafe housing, dealing with eviction notices, landlord issues, and more. All legal aid is only offered on a first-come, first serve basis at the main  Steepletown Neighborhood Services center. Even find attorneys that help stop evictions.

Assistance with understanding and completing taxes is available for the working poor, low-income individuals, seniors and families. This help is available through a free program called VITA Tax Preparation Assistance, and is a form of legal aid.

Kent County Job placement

Job placement is provided by the Steepletown Center as part of WIA (Workforce Investment Act). By teaching people of all ages, including the youth, hands-on work skills in areas that interest them, it helps lead them on the path to a stable job and income.

Another option in Kent County is the Summer Work Experience Program, which offers eligible candidates an opportunity to work as an intern in certain fields to gain firsthand knowledge and skills. In addition, this experience also affords them the opportunity to receive certifications which will help lead them towards a long-term career in the future.




Applying for Steepletown Center Services

As noted, a major focus is also on giving out referrals. For more information on the assistance that may be offered through Steepletown Neighborhood Services, the phone number of the non-profit is (616) 451-4215.


By Jon McNamara

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