The Rapidian Home

Community updates: Thursday, Sept. 16

City of Grand Rapids creates Affordable Housing Fund; MDHHS launches online portal for immunization records; and Susan Mast ALS Foundation hosting "PedALS" bike ride, walk to support local ALS families.
Hermitage St. SE in Grand Rapids.

Hermitage St. SE in Grand Rapids. /Eric Tank

City of Grand Rapids creates Affordable Housing Fund

The Grand Rapids City Commission established an Affordable Housing Fund on Tuesday, aiming to address racial and ethnic disparities in housing in Grand Rapids.

The fund was six years in the making, according the City of Grand Rapids, and created through the work of the city’s housing practice leader, Housing Next. Its dollars will be used to financially assist low- and moderate-income residents and preserve and increase the city’s affordable housing supply.

Additionally, the fund will offer gap-financing for new affordable and mixed-income housing development and make bridge loans for acquisition and pre-development costs with nonprofit developers.

The city’s fiscal year 2021 budget included an initial investment in the fund of $875,000, the city said in a Wednesday statement. This investment will be transferred to the Affordable Housing Fund and used for its purposes.

Establishment of the housing fund is a major accomplishment that has been a priority for this Commission,” said Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “This effort is essential as we work to ensure that Grand Rapids remains a desirable and equitable place to live for all."

City commissioners also established a fiduciary through the Grand Rapids Community Foundation for stewardship of initial and future dollars dedicated to the fund. The foundation will manage it as a non-endowed designated fund, with a Housing Fund Board making all capital spending and distribution decisions.

Details about the Affordable Housing Fund and its board are available on the City of Grand Rapids’ website.


MDHHS launches online portal for immunization records

Michigan adults can now access their immunization records online—including COVID-19 vaccination—thanks to a new Michigan Immunization Portal launched by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The MDHHS issued a statement last week with details on the portal, where residents ages 18 and over with immunization records posted in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry can find their record and download, save, or print this information. The portal is located at, with the related registry including COVID-19 vaccination.

“We want to make sure Michiganders are able to access their vaccination records as easily as possible as this is important health information,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “The Michigan Immunization Portal allows them to find their record from their computer or smart phone and save a copy for their records. This will also allow anyone who has misplaced their COVID-19 vaccination card to print a record of their vaccination.”

To ensure privacy and that residents are only able to access their own records, residents must create an account on the portal and upload a valid government-issued photo ID. Immunizations provided in another state or country may not be included in one’s record in the portal.

As the portal is only available for those 18 and over, parents won’t be able to access their child’s immunization records. The MDHHS instructs parents to contact their child’s physician’s office or local health department to obtain a copy of their records.

A FAQ page is available on the Michigan Immunization Portal website.


Susan Mast ALS Foundation hosting "PedALS" bike ride, walk to support local ALS families

The Susan Mast ALS Foundation, a nonprofit ALS care provider based in Grand Rapids, is hosting its third annual “PedALS” bike ride and walk event this month for the community to help support its mission.

The event takes place Sept. 25-26, with participating pledgers enabling Susan Mast to provide critical support services and wheelchairs to nearly 100 families across West Michigan, according to the foundation.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The ALS Foundation states that people with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, progressively lose their ability to walk, talk, and eventually breathe. There is currently no cure for the disease.

Our mission is to walk alongside families with loved ones experiencing ALS,” said Julie Snelling, Executive Director of Susan Mast. “PedALS gives us the chance to pay tribute to individuals with ALS, honor those who have meant so much to us, and make new memories in a fun, family-friendly environment.”

Susan Mast encourages participants to sign up as PedALS Pledgers through the PedALS website. Pledgers commit to bringing in a specific donation amount and recruit a team to raise the funds needed.

Details about the bike and walk routes that will be part of the PedALS event are also available through its website.


Sharing your stories

The Rapidian encourages local residents to share their own stories related to civic, economic, and public health developments in the Grand Rapids area on The Rapidian’s platform. To get started as a community reporter, visit

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.