"Bridging the Gap: Designing and Implementing a Model Solution for the Holland Community's 'Gap' Homeless Population"

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. James Boelkins, Hope College
Dr. Virgil Gulker, Hope College

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In the fall of 2010, the Holland Rescue Mission (HRM) approached the ASI Student Consulting Program at the CFL for assistance in addressing the long-term housing needs and support for members of the “gap” homeless population in the Holland community. This is a segment of the homeless population that is too high functioning to be considered legally disabled, but too low functioning to live independently. Members of the "gap" population are chronically homeless and require significant financial resources and services; consequently, there are no existing programs which directly address their unique needs for housing and support. The purpose of this research was to design a model solution for the Holland Rescue Mission to provide permanent housing and mentoring support for members of the "gap" population using volunteer mentors from local churches and existing social services, and then further assist with the implementation of the solution. So far, ASI designed the model, helped secure a home (Shepherd House), designed a client housing agreement and application, interviewed “gap” clients, and developed educational materials for sharing with local churches about this problem. Future work will focus on assessment of the model and replication of it with additional homes supported by local churches and social service agencies. Additionally, ASI will begin to present their work to the community to build a large network support system within a Christian community.

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