May we answer a few questions …
Through the support of our community, Dégagé is able to offer services to those in need. Dégagé Ministries does not receive Federal funding. The charts list our 2018 sources of income, along with expenses. These charts represent pre-audited financial statement data. Audited financial statements are available upon request. Click here for the 2018 Annual Report.
Please see our wish list for a list of our current needs.
Dégagé requires interested individuals to attend a volunteer orientation. Orientation is held the second Monday of each month from 6:00-7:00 p.m. After this meeting, Nelson Koon, our Volunteer Coordinator will contact the individual to schedule a time to volunteer. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more on Volunteer page.
We are celebrating 50 years…
In 1967, the organization began as a coffeehouse ministry to college students in the basement of the Salvation Army building at the corner of Barclay Ave. and Fountain St. It moved shortly thereafter to 23 S. Division Ave. located in the Heartside Neighborhood. In 1986, Dégagé moved just down the street to 10 Weston St. and remained there for 6 years before moving to its current location, a former Moose Lodge, at 144 Division Ave S in 1992.
Every day between 400-500 people come to Dégagé to receive assistance.
Dégagé has 44 staff members. Over 1,200 volunteers donate their time and services annually. It takes 30 volunteers a day to operate all of our programs.
According to the Grand Rapids Coalition to End Homelessness, on a given night approximately 700 to 800 people are considered homeless. Last year there were over 3,500 individuals who were considered homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless.
Dégagé’s response to panhandling is to offer community members a helpful tool to use when they are approached for help. This tool is a $2 voucher which can be redeemed for services in our facility. The voucher program provides a positive means for both immediate help (a warm meal or hot shower) and long-term support (I.D. assistance, housing, overnight shelter). When a voucher is used at Dégagé, a patron is exposed to the many services available.
We encourage community members to keep the vouchers in their wallet or car and distribute them when approached for money. Click here to purchase the vouchers.
Dégagé’s goal is to assure that every man and woman who we serve knows that he/she is not alone. Many hardships exist in life and none of us are exempt from them. For those we serve at Dégagé, many of whom are homeless and low-income, the hardships can be overwhelming—loss of shelter, loss of employment, loss of a loved one, loss of control and loss of opportunity. And with these hardships, they lose much more. Many feel unworthy and hopeless, especially after society has looked down upon them or they have been rejected after repeatedly trying to move forward on their own.
At Dégagé, we firmly believe, and have proven through our programs since 1967, that there is a significant difference in a person’s likelihood of success if they have someone to walk alongside them during a crisis or through a transition. This happens in many ways at Dégagé such as providing a needed service, greeting a patron by name, or holding someone accountable. Without the critical programs at Dégagé, many men and women would not know where to turn, what steps to take next or how to find the motivation to take those steps. We believe that just because a person is in poverty does not mean they need to lose their dignity or hope. Therefore, we strive to only do for others what they can not do for themselves by limiting one way giving, empowering instead of enabling and giving voice to those we serve.
For these reasons, we walk alongside our patrons knowing that God works through people and community to bring light to a broken world. We do this in many ways:
- By building relationships and providing a safe place where all are welcome. Every day 400-500 people use our services.
- By providing for immediate needs such as food, hot showers, prescription co-pays, a mailing address, storage for belongings and overnight shelter for women.
- By walking alongside and affirming individuals as they navigate obstacles and work toward housing, jobs, sobriety, health, and independence.
- By recognizing that individuals gain dignity when they contribute and by creating ways for everyone to do so.
- By responding to gaps in services and needs in our community.
- By reflecting Christ’s love in action and word.
To reflect the love of Christ to all who come through our doors by building relationships and offering programs that foster dignity and respect.
Degage’s kitchen operates similarly to a low-cost restaurant. A small fee is also attached to several of the services offered at Dégagé such as laundry and locker rental. Additionally, we sell necessities such as socks and t-shirts. This reflects the ministry’s commitment to fostering dignity and respect. We believe that people feel dignity when they are taking care of their own needs and allowed to make personal decisions.
For those who have limited or no income, we offer 60 opportunities a day to earn “Degage Dollars” which may be used to purchase food and necessities or participate in our services that have a fee attached (To learn more about this program, click here). Charging for services promotes habits of self-sufficiency and affirms an individual’s ability to care for him or herself.
“Degage,” is a French verb meaning “to relax and be at ease.”
Dégagé Ministries is an ecumenical Christian organization. We are supported by many religious denominations.
Dégagé does not require patrons to participate in religions program to receive services. Patrons can voluntarily join a prayer circle every morning, attend Bible studies in our facility or participate in outings with local churches. Our staff members are always available to pray with a patron and often distribute Bibles to interested individuals.