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Exodus Building offers a hand up instead of handout

7:48 PM, Apr 27, 2010   |    comments
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The Exodus Building at 322 Front SW

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The Exodus Building took over what was once a former correctional facility on at 322 Front Ave. SW in Grand Rapids ten months ago.

Since then the non-profit organization continues to move forward in its mission to help a portion of the West Michigan community. Roy Lowden is one of them. He works at the Exodus Building, "(I) started out as the janitor here, worked as a greeter for the front desk, back as the janitor, working on donations."

Lowden also lives at the Exodus Building, along with 100 other men who are experiencing some sort of void. Lowden says, ""It's given me a place to be instead of being out on the streets, underneath the bridge somewhere, away from the weather. It's given me a safe place to be."

Robb Munger is the founder of the Exodus Building.

It serves as a hybrid for transitional housing, job creation and placement. Munger says, "When we took it on unemployment was at the highest ever for the state of michigan. Foreclosures were at record high and it was something that was placed on my heart to see men who weren't getting getting connected."

So, he took a leap of faith and leaned on others to join his effort. Munger recalls, "We started with eight people that had been in different forms of homelessness. I went to them and said this is what I'm looking at doing." The project would reach out to men who may have been homeless, struggling with addiction or experiencing personal turmoil. Unlike a traditional mission, the men pay rent to stay there and take advantage of the services provided to them.

Lowden says, "Most of the guys here like being here. It gives them a stepping stone for them to better themselves." They can do that through computer training, resume writing and job interviewing skills. Most of all it helps the men regain structure. in their lives. Munger says, "You lose that structure because you don't care because you've been kicked so many times that you've given up. So, this is a place where we get their momentum back and going again." A place providing the men with an hand-up, instead of a hand-out.

The Exodus Building relies heavily on individual and corporate donations. There's still room for about 30 more men.

In May, it will open a thrift store on Kalamazoo Avenue in Grand Rapids to bring in additional income to help future residents.

For more information, call (616) 242-9130.


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