Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Jeffrey moved around a bit in recent years, tending to vacant houses for realtors in West Michigan and then Houston, Texas. “My nephew and I would clean the houses and keep the yards up, so when people came to show them, they’d be ready.”
Unfortunately, the work stopped when Jeffrey’s nephew had a falling out with his employer. Although Jeffrey had saved some money, there was no steady income for about six or eight months.
When his first granddaughter was born last August, Jeffrey flew from Houston back to Grand Rapids to visit his family. The next day, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and destroyed his home. “My nephew called me and said, ‘Everything’s under water.’” Jeffrey had lost everything except what he had in his duffle bag.
MTM’s Pilgrimage Program is for homeless men and women who qualify for supplemental security income or social security disability.
With nothing but chaos left in Houston, Jeffrey stayed in local motels in Grand Rapids until his money ran out. “I came down to Mel Trotter and my cousin Bobby was working security,” he explained. “Bobby introduced me to [advocate] Will and I got into the program.”
MTM’s Pilgrimage Program is for homeless men and women who qualify for supplemental security income or social security disability, which Jeffrey receives for a degenerative bone condition in his neck. Guests in this specialized program are treated with dignity and participate in morning devotionals, chores, classes, and other activities that encourage them to connect with a meaningful community.
“I do my Bible study because it keeps me in the right frame of mind,” Jeffrey told us. “I’m enjoying fellowship with my Man!” He also enjoys the education and the structure the program provides. “As I go through the Bible class and that diversity class, it keeps me level,” he explained. “I love it.”
Jeffrey is grateful to the donors and supporters of MTM who helped give him a place to call home when he had nowhere to go. “It gives me hope, that’s for sure,” he said. “It just made me feel good about myself that people would help me.” Supporting Mel Trotter will keep more guests like Jeffrey afloat when life’s storm takes them under.