Ending Homelessness: Moving Forward to Permanent Supportive Housing in Shared Community in Michigan


Judi's And Richa's
Actions In 2006
Give Hope For 2007

As I tried to make sense of our times at the end of 2006, I received Judi’s and Richa’s annual Solstice letter from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Their peaceful actions during 2006 on homelessness, health care, helping children grow, healing the heart of conflict, and community journalism give me hope for our Small Planet in 2007.

At present, they're going forward in their transition from Emergency Shelter to Permanent Housing and are looking for examples of others who have created "Permanent Supportive Housing in shared community." If you have examples you'd like to share, please write to them at the address given at the end of their letter.

You may recall that Judi's Career Vision interview
appeared on this website in April 2006,
Richa's in June 2006.

~ Michael Chacko Daniels
Editor & Publisher
New River Free Press International

Judi, Eleanor, and Richa

As we enter the new year, we are thankful for Eleanor, our 1-¾ year old grandniece. She keeps us aware of the wonderful beauties around us. She also helps Judi see the strong skills that Richa has in helping a child grow. Eleanor has now become more comfortable with us both, and we all look forward to our time together.

Our Vision to End Homelessness implementation is progressing. Richa was elected to the new Steering Committee, where he is presently focusing on trying to make it a more democratic process. This goes somewhat against precedent and therefore takes some initiative; however, people are receptive, and those changes are proceeding.

Judi is working on ending shelters through a Reduced Shelter Use Roundtable and envisioning a new place for Well House. Well House is looking towards a permanent community model. Although we have lived in community, this will be different going from an established non-profit shelter.

Judi’s life has gotten more involved with committees in the shelter area. She still spends one day a week at the Institute for Global Education. However, she no longer does Creative Response to Conflict at Aquinas [College]. This year CRCI did get a grant which benefited national as well as local with books to get into the community. The Peace Festival still flourishes thanks to BSW interns from a local college. Judi left the neighborhood association board this year after six years. She now works weekly in the office on documentation for grants and other tasks, and is more involved in block meetings.

We got ten endorsements for the health care resolution Richa had started working on late in 2005, including a key endorsement – unanimous – from the Grand Rapids City Commission. That was crucial in gaining our Governor’s support this October, which puts us another step closer to comprehensive statewide legislation. This is part of a growing movement for effective national health care legislation that will cover everyone…at less cost than our present system!

There has been a rash of shootings in Grand Rapids this year, sparking some to initiate a “community voice” forum, looking for solutions. At the first public forum asking the community for solutions, many spoke out for more “discipline” of children, meaning first and foremost more physical punishment.

Richa, one of the few “White” folks involved, was the only voice calling for no hitting, of any kind, of children (the moderator asked twice, at first not believing he really meant that). But people are starting to pay attention, partly because that is in context of general research on what works in criminal justice, which Richa originally put together in 2000 after being repeatedly jailed essentially for being visibly homeless. Some of the folks concerned about this ongoing community violence are more receptive than the mostly “White” Commissioners and other City power-brokers who were presented with his findings in 2000.

Almost bi-weekly Richa and Judi continue to join two others in what we call the 8 Step Program for Peacemakers from Marc Gopin’s book “Healing the Heart of Conflict” (which we recommended last year!!) It has been an extremely supportive group where we can work on conflict issues in our lives. Some of us have introduced this book in other places to start more groups. For Richa, especially, who has experienced some very un-peaceful acts and attitudes in the “peace” movement, the group has reinforced the idea that peace starts in each of our own lives.

Richa continues to publish Spoon, a newsletter largely by and for homeless and disempowered folks in our area. It’s struggling financially, so if you’re interested and want to help, get a year’s subscription (six issues: send a check for $15 or more made out to Kathy Needham, with a memo “Spoon”). We close with one of Richa’s cartoons from Spoon.


Judi Buchman and Richa
600 Cass Av. S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI, 49503
- - - - -
Don’t compromise your integrity
– it’s your foundation.

Reprinted with permission from Judi & Richa.

Judi & Richa

Are Looking For Examples Of

Permanent Supportive Housing

In Shared Community

At present, they're going forward in their transition from Emergency Shelter to Permanent Housing and are looking for examples of others who have created Permanent Supportive Housing in shared community. If you have examples you'd like to share, please write to them at the address below:

Judi Buchman and Richa
600 Cass Av. S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

Judith Anne Buchman

Judith Anne Buchman is the farm girl from northwest Ohio who went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in her early twenties and who has for over three decades focused her life on peace and justice activities.

In April 2006, she said in a Career Visions interview:

“I've lived in several different types of communities, but the one that I have been in for the last 10 years is Well House Homeless Shelter. This is a non-profit started by a good friend. This includes a lot of social work as well, but because we live in community as well as providing housing for short term emergencies, we are constantly teaching.

“I've worked with the Institute for Global Education and the American Friends Service Committee in Western Michigan before that conducting workshops such as: "Peace Education for Parents"; "Creative Response to Conflict", a local branch of the national organization in Nyack, NY; "Circles of Peace" from the national FAVAN (Families Against Violence Advocacy Network) out of the Peace and Justice Institute in St. Louis, MO.”


Richa, who goes by only this shortened version of his given name, first appeared in New River Free Press in November 1976 as one of the Trash Pickers of Grand Rapids (Lifeboat Ethics & The Making Of The Trash Pickers: The Issue Of Personal Responsibility). In June 2006, the second decade of his homeless witness in Grand Rapids was featured in New River Free Press International (The Second Decade of Richa's Witness).

The non-violent action on trash and personal responsibility in God's own city by the Grand River created a snowball effect that resulted in thousands receiving food.

Richa, who has been active in Grand Rapids neighborhood associations for many years, co-edits SPOON, a neighborhood newsletter, as an alternative to corporate-owned mass media.

All views expressed in this report
are the participants' and do not necessarily
represent those of the editor or this website.

This report is brought to you by
Michael Chacko Daniels
Editor & Publisher
New River Free Press International

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Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 at 11:34PM by Registered CommenterMichael Chacko Daniels | CommentsPost a Comment