Grand Rapids Press (09.27.11) - Monday, October 03, 2011
The City of Grand Rapids on Sept. 27 approved an expansion of
the Grand Rapids RED Project's Clean Works needle-exchange
program, clearing the way for the NEP to operate from a
specially equipped van.
Clean Works has operated at the Heartside Ministry building,
54 S. Division Ave., for 10 years. In recommending an NEP in
1998, the Mayor's Task Force had called for its eventual
expansion beyond the Heartside District, but Clean Works had
sought only the fixed-site approval.
"We've definitely established a track record that gives us the
credibility to go further than where we are now," said Steve
Alsum, project director . "We would like to better serve this
population with the mobile component."
The NEP plans to look for sites on Grand Rapids' west side,
the southeast side and in the area around 28th Street and
Division Avenue, said Alsum. Clean Works is raising funds to
purchase a van from a defunct Detroit-based NEP. In addition
to having space for exchanging dirty needles for clean ones,
the van includes a private area for disease screening and
Second Ward Commissioner Ruth Kelly praised Clean Works for
protecting community health. "This is a real impressive
project," she said. "They are to be commended for this."