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Jason Cross was a social worker in Manistee County when he observed that a lack of licensed childcare in the area was a major barrier to parents being able to get and keep jobs. The problem was especially acute because Manistee County has a high percentage of single parents and many simply could not find work during the hours when childcare was available. “Much of the employment in Manistee County is shift work, and many jobs fall outside the typical 9-5 work day,” says Jason, “but there were no licensed centers that offered childcare after 6 p.m. or on weekends.”
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Ryan VerWys can describe the work of Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) in one sentence. “We’re making places for people to come home to,” he says proudly. In a city where affordable housing is in short supply, where children leaving foster care struggle to obtain adequate employment and housing, and where the injustices of discriminatory housing practices echo, Ryan knows it takes people from every neighborhood and organizations from every sector to achieve ICCF’s vision.
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