The Grand Vision
Transportation Network Growth & Investment Areas Network Housing Network Food & Farming Network Energy Network Natural Resources Network

Local Housing Advocate to Receive First Grand Vision Housing Leadership Award

Media Release                                  
For Immediate Release                                                                           
Date: October 18, 2012

Media Contact: Dan Boss
Program Publicity Specialist
Voice: 231-929-5047


Local Housing Advocate to Receive First Grand Vision Housing Leadership Award


Northwest Lower Michigan— The Grand Vision Housing Solutions Network and the Foundation for Mental Health have selected housing advocate Cheryl Naperala to receive the inaugural Grand Vision Housing Leadership Award. The award will be presented on Friday, November 9 at an awards luncheon at the Traverse City Golf and Country Club on Union Street in Traverse City.


The Grand Vision Housing Leadership Award highlights the contributions of individuals in northwest lower Michigan who have made positive, significant contributions to housing for all residents. The award is for individuals including elected or appointed officials, professional staff, or volunteers who have:

·  Made important contributions to the region’s housing choices;

·  Increased the understanding and awareness of housing needs;

·  Led efforts resulting in significant economic, social, and/or political impacts in the community that have encouraged housing choices for all.


Naperala is being recognized for her contributions to supporting and housing the region’s homeless and those with special needs. In 1987 she helped start the Foundation for Mental Health (FMH) which began to address the mounting problem of homelessness among mentally ill individuals in the five-county area. Naperala’s work as director of FMH was instrumental in moving the fledgling organization into a critical support for the region’s homeless. FMH now owns, develops, and manages supportive housing for people with special needs, providing housing for over 80 formerly-homeless members of the community and their families.


Since 2000 Naperala has been the coordinator for the Grand Traverse Area Continuum of Care where she has played a pivotal role in attracting financial resources to the area. Under her leadership at the Continuum of Care, over $12 million has been awarded to the region for use in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and stable homes for families and individuals.


Naperala continues to advocate and work toward the development of supportive and equal opportunity housing for the Grand Traverse Area. 


The November 9 awards luncheon is open to the public and will feature keynote speaker Judge Michael Stepka, who will discuss the 86th District Court’s Mental Health Court.


Tickets are available for $20 from TREAT Tickets (

For more information contact: Sarah Lucas, Regional Planner, Northwest Michigan Council of Governments 231-929-5034,; or Emilee Syrewicze, Executive Director Foundation for Mental Health, 231-929-1309,


About The Grand Vision:
The Grand Vision is a big picture vision for the future of the six-county region in northwest lower Michigan. It began with a land use and transportation study and the largest community engagement process ever implemented in Michigan. Facing the possibility of a projected 28% population increase by the mid 21st Century, residents participated in a scenario planning process, casting 12,000 votes to determine preferred scenarios for the region’s future.

Growth centered around existing cities and villages was preferred by 87% of the participants. This and other preferences led to The Grand Vision’s citizen-defined guiding principles, unveiled in 2008 with a focus on economic stability, a variety of transportation and housing options, protection of natural resources, energy conservation, and preservation of viable food systems. Together, they provide a framework for managing growth in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Wexford counties. Alignment with these principles has garnered state and national attention and served as a catalyst for project funding in excess of $10 million.

Areas of Focus:
The Grand Vision Networks bring together diverse perspectives and expertise with a common focus. The following six networks are built upon elements integral to a sustainable future for the region: Energy, Food and Farming, Growth and Investment, Housing, Natural Resources. and Transportation.

#      #      #

Be a Grand Vision iReporter


Subscribe to the Grand Vision Newsletter!


Upcoming Events

Antrim Benzie Grand Traverse Kalkaska Leelanau Wexford