September 23, 2023

Tyna Woods

Technology does the job

Grand Rapids shelter hosting free film series ‘Unhoused’ on homelessness to raise awareness

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Dégagé Ministries is encouraging the community to attend a free viewing of “Unhoused,” a film series on the causes, realities and solutions to homelessness to raise awareness.

The two-part series began June 22. Those interested can catch the second film on Monday, July 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St. SE.

Each film is followed by a Q&A with representatives from various Grand Rapids organizations. Grand Rapids Poet Laureate Kyd Kane is the moderator.

The first film was a documentary titled “Us and Them.” It brought forward the life of four individuals experiencing homelessness.

Degage Ministries Executive Director Thelma Ensink said the film series is important and impacts the Grand Rapids community.

“It’s not just a homeless shelter problem or a downtown Grand Rapids problem,” Ensink said. “I think it’s a community problem and it impacts all of our lives and quality of life in the city.”

The second event will showcase the film, “The Public.” The film will zero in on the realities and everyday life of somebody experiencing homelessness.

To register to attend visit the website here.

Following the film, the Grand Rapids Public Library, Homeless Outreach Team by Network180 and the As You Are Group will lead a panel discussion.

“We want people to interact with people who are experiencing homelessness,” Ensink said. “We want them to build relationships with them and understand that they are people just like us, who are finding themselves in a difficult situation.”

The initiative concludes with Community Celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., featuring art, food and music. A portion of the street at Sheldon Boulevard and Cherry Street SE will be blocked off to accommodate the event, according to Ensink.

Kyd Kane will introduce a collection of art created by people experiencing homelessness in the city.

“The theme behind the event is relationships,” Ensink said. “Because as we look at the realities and solutions, when it comes to homelessness, the thread that runs through that is relationships to motivate them and give them hope.”

Every art display will have a QR code to scan to watch an educational video about how that agency may approach homelessness.

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