Homeless Awareness Month

This November, we’re partnering with churches across Ottawa County to raise awareness around the issues of homelessness and poverty in our community.

Good Samaritan is ending homelessness in Ottawa County.

We’re on a mission to end poverty and homelessness.

We do this by mobilizing faith-based and community partners,
activating individual and community assets, and meeting immediate needs in our community.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

November is National Homeless Awareness Month. I’m asking your church to consider helping Good Samaritan and its community partners raise awareness for our most vulnerable neighbors through education and advocacy.

Good Samaritan’s work to end homelessness and poverty in our community is difficult. In Ottawa County, there usually aren’t large homeless encampments that someone can easily spot, like in larger cities or lower-income areas. Poverty and homelessness are often hidden in our community—hard to see from the outside.

Yet the need is very real, and your ministry partners at Good Samaritan work daily to provide support and services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness throughout Ottawa County. Here’s just one number to highlight the existing need: over the last year (ending June 30), Good Samaritan received 7,698 calls from neighbors searching for help.

One of these calls in late June was from Steven—a single father of three beautiful children. Amid an intensely difficult season, Steven received notice he and his kids were facing eviction from his home. Realizing the stark reality his family was about to experience homelessness, Steven contacted his local church, which referred him to Good Samaritan’s Eviction Prevention Program. Good Samaritan worked with Steven and his landlord, who was delighted to keep Steven’s family as a tenant. Steven continues to work with the Good Samaritan team to build a reliable budget, manage expenses, and care well for his kids.

Partnering with churches is a vital part of our work. And that’s why I’m asking your church to consider how you may help raise awareness this November of the issues of homelessness that many in our community are facing.

What We Do

Good Samaritan serves as Ottawa County’s designated Housing Assessment and Resourcing Agency (HARA). For anyone experiencing homelessness, we connect them to secure, sustainable housing and supportive programs that build stable, thriving communities.

In close partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, landlords, local courts, and many other partners, Good Samaritan provides solutions for people to exit homelessness for good and break the cycles of poverty.

Our Work

Preventing homelessness

We work with tenants, landlords, and Ottawa County courts to prevent evictions, providing short-term financial assistance through a pay-back program called Ottawa County Eviction Prevention Program (OCEPP).

Housing solutions

We provide supportive housing services and rental assistance to households in crisis, helping them navigate the paths to stable housing solutions and exiting homelessness.

Sustainable partnerships

Our full-service property management department works closely with tenants and to provide supportive case management services, education, and assistance; and with landlords to provide reliable services and support as needed.

Supportive services

Once households are ready to take the next step from surviving to thriving in their community, we offer relationally-based support services to help people establish and meet their goals, breaking the cycles of poverty.

Good Samaritan - Homeless Awareness Month, November 2023

Here are four ways your church can partner

with Good Samaritan this November:

Host a Welcome Home basket drive

When a person experiences homelessness, they often give up everything they own in pursuit of safe shelter—including what most people would consider “the essentials.” So, anytime a person exits homelessness, Good Samaritan provides that household with a Welcome Home basket—a laundry basket filled with household and personal items. By hosting a Welcome Home basket drive, your church members can help provide one of these baskets to brighten someone’s day as they open the door to their next phase of life.

Over the last year, Good Samaritan provided about 80 Welcome Home baskets.

Invite a Good Samaritan representative to speak

Members of the Good Samaritan team would be honored to speak to a group from your church. Whether you need someone to fill the pulpit Sunday morning, speak at a special event, or have a discussion with a committee or team, we’d be happy to accommodate the opportunities available.

Here are some of the team members available to speak at your church:

Brenna Zawacki, Case Management Lead for Good Samaritan.

Brenna Zawacki leads Good Samaritan’s Case Management and Shelter Diversion teams. Brenna enjoys utilizing her skills and passion for housing in her work, helping her team navigate ending poverty and homelessness.

Bryan Haley, Good Samaritan's Director of Communications and Marketing

Bryan Haley is Good Samaritan’s Director of Communication. Passionate about outreach, missions, and connecting with the community, Bryan is also a Master of Divinity student at Calvin Theological Seminary. He enjoys delivering practical talks to help people connect the gospel narrative to daily life. 

Derrell Jackson is a member of Good Samaritan's Board of Directors

Derrell Jackson, Good Samaritan’s Board of Directors’ Vice President, has a long history serving with Good Samaritan and in the local community. 

Gary Beyer is a member of Good Samaritan's Board of Directors

Gary Beyer serves as President of Good Samaritan’s Board of Directors. Gary is a banking executive who’s actively involved in his local church and passionate about helping end homelessness and poverty in our community.

Patti Cummings, Good Samaritan's Deputy Director of Housing Services.

Patti Cummings, Deputy Director of Housing Services.

Sponsor a “One Night, No Bed” campaign

One Night, No Bed is a Good Samaritan campaign to raise awareness about Ottawa County’s homelessness. Each night, more than 200 of our neighbors sleep outside, in an emergency shelter, or in their vehicle because they have no other place to sleep.

The concept around One Night, No Bed is simple: for one night, participants sleep anywhere other than their bed. Share photos on social media, talk about their experience with others, and strive to understand the issues surrounding homelessness in our community.

Consider a special offering for Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan’s work is possible because of financial support from a mix of public and private sources. Your church’s donation could help families remain stably housed, avoid homelessness, or exit homelessness.

Contact Us About Homeless Awareness Month

We’re able to eradicate homelessness in our community because of the support of many generous people and organizations.

Donate today to help end homelessness in Ottawa County.