February, 2014. In this coldest of Michigan winters, one Macomb County, Michigan business leader is helping the homeless and less fortunate by donating blankets to the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team (MCREST).
So far, Brian Palmer has personally donated nearly 50 blankets, valued at least $35 each, to MCREST, a coalition of area congregations that provide homeless and displaced individuals the opportunity for successful transition to independence.
Each year through MCREST, approximately 90 congregations provide nearly 20,000 shelter nights and more than 60,000 meals, in addition to personal, medical and vocational support. When residing with one of the host congregations, individuals or families, including children, are provided meals, shower facilities, transportation and, when available, laundry services.
MCREST provides safe shelter, meals and friendship, in addition to many other services that help transition families and individuals back into the community. As appropriate, participants work with MCREST case managers to overcome barriers to self-reliance that may include lack of income, poor money management, mental health issues, substance abuse or a broken personal support system. Participants also work with their MCREST case managers to implement a personalized housing plan, so that they can transition from the Shelter Program back to an affordable and stable housing solution.
A Romeo, Michigan resident, Palmer is founder and CEO of Michigan-based Amerivest LLC, an executive management solutions team focused on strategic acquisitions and technology synergy.
"Those of us more fortunate in life, including our community and business leaders, must have faith in our fellow human beings and the commitment to help with basic needs as they restructure their lives, families and careers," says Palmer, who served in the State House of Representatives (36th District) from 2002 to 2008.
In the Michigan House of Representatives, Palmer was Majority Whip from 2002-2006. He also served as the Chairman of the Education Committee for four years, and was a ranking majority member of the House Commerce and Tax Policy committees.
Palmer is also the founder and president of the Blessed Virgin Mary Foundation (BVM Foundation), a Michigan 501c3 nonprofit group, founded in 1995 to provide charitable services, including in education. For the remainder of the cold weather season, Palmer and the BVM Foundation are pledged to provide another 10-15 blankets each week to MCREST.
"We have chosen to work with MCREST because it has a proven, humane, community-driven approach to solving longstanding issues in our society like homelessness and underemployment. We must work one-on-one with others, addressing core issues like housing, jobs, transportation and family dynamics. When we strengthen one, we strengthen all," Palmer adds.