Grand Rapids, Michigan — HQ, a local drop-in center for youth ages 14-24 experiencing homelessness, runaway or whose housing is unsafe or unstable, will celebrate two years of operation alongside community members on Wednesday, November 9 with an ‘HQ is You’ Open House at its location, 320 State Street SE, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Since opening its doors in December 2014, more than 650 youth have received rest, resources and readiness from the nonprofit. To meet the needs, HQ’s team has expanded from four to 12 staff members, an increase of 200 percent, with plans to add at least two more before year-end.
“It’s hard to believe HQ has been creating a safe and affirming space for youth in this community for two years already,” says Shandra Steininger, HQ Executive Director. “When we opened our doors, we had no idea just how great the need was or how complex the youths’ stories would be. We’ve learned so much about their resiliency and potential. We’ve also been humbled by the support in this community, which has allowed us to be innovative and flexible as we evolve to meet these needs.”
With drop-in times dedicated to specific age groupings, HQ members can access any of the following at no cost: meals, showers, laundry services, basic need items and clothing, employment and education resources, housing crisis support and a computer lab.
“While our growth generates excitement, these numbers also represent a huge need in our community for safe and low-barrier services for youth,” says Holly Anderton, Drop-In Director for HQ. “It is not enough for youth to simply be allowed in various community spaces. They must have access to services that meet them where they are and as they are, with no strings attached.”