Dwelling Place Community Report

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Dear Friend,

A resident recently came to my office to discuss a problem he had in one of our apartment communities. Before he left, we found a resolution to his concern, but I also received something from him that I had not expected. He offered a testimonial about the work that Dwelling Place does day in and day out. A veteran of combat, the formerly homeless resident shared his long struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The apartment that we offered him was much more than he expected, but his PTSD caused him to avoid people. He remained isolated in his apartment. That is, until 2017, when we launched a community gardening initiative across 14 Dwelling Place apartment communities; part of a larger resident engagement program that includes opportunities for resident volunteerism in community gardening, peer support, community arts, and leadership development. Today, he is a leader in our community gardening program, mentoring other gardeners and other gardening programs. He has also earned his certification as a Master Gardener. He shared that his life has changed through the support Dwelling Place provided to him. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to find some meaning and happiness once again in his life. This resident’s story, and stories like his, gives real meaning to the need for a Dwelling Place. This is why we are proud to present the Community Report. In this report, you will see how our partnership managing apartments for Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation

has changed lives in the last year. You will learn about our Roosevelt Apartments in Muskegon Heights that opened just over a year ago, a neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing initiative, representing the largest single capital investment in that city in more than a decade. We also share other milestones in our Housing Development, Property Management, and Support Services programs, together with more stories about how increased investment in resident engagement programs is changing lives, neighborhoods, and communities. The narrative for our organizational growth is still primarily a story about one person touching the life of another again and again. When that happens, lives change, neighborhoods grow, and communities thrive. Our capacity to meet growing needs, however, is largely dependent on the support we receive in the communities we serve. We want to thank all who have contributed to growing our capacity.

Dennis Sturtevant CEO, Dwelling Place


Live, Work & Dwell

1,399 Dwelling Places

4 Counties

215 Apartments

10 Communities

34 Housing Communities

Kent, Muskegon, Oceana, and Ottawa

Grand Rapids, Grandville, Hesperia, Holland, Kentwood, Muskegon Heights, Rockford, Walker, Whitehall, and Wyoming

managed for Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation

9 Grand Rapids Neighborhoods

Creston/North Park, East Hills, Heartside, JBAN/SWAN, Madison, North East, Roosevelt Park, South East Community Association, and West Grand

173 Apartments in joint ventures with others

47 62 Live & Commercial Work Spaces Spaces

Supporting Residents

Our passion is to see residents thrive. In the last year, 11 Dwelling Place apartment communities served low-income households with histories of homelessness and/or having a disability. From the moment residents join these Supportive Housing communities, we establish relationships with them and personalize their care. Over 300 residents received support from eight on-site staff. Our Resident Services Coordinators walk alongside residents and support their journeys to housing stability and self-sufficiency by helping navigate behavioral health and physical health systems.

“I’m proud of the daily, oneon-one advocacy our Support Services staff provide for residents. As a team, we help support residents through the highs and the lows, celebrating life’s successes and working through its struggles. It’s remarkable to see the impact we have, watching residents flourish and thrive.” Alonda Trammell Director of Support Services

RESIDENT STORY Jackie has lived in Heartside for many years in Herkimer Apartments, a historic Dwelling Place apartment community. He goes to church in the neighborhood and is a regular face in the community. But recently, as Jackie has grown older, it has been hard for him to make trips to the grocery store. Regina, a Support Services staff member who works on-site in his building, worked out a system: every other Tuesday, Jackie brings Regina a grocery list. Regina connects with a local grocery-getter service and sees the delivery of these necessary items. Meanwhile, Jackie can continue living an independent life that isn’t consumed by the stress of meeting such a crucial need.

“The number one goal is to ensure that our residents remain permanently housed. Coming from a homeless background or having a disability makes it hard for some people to live stable lives. I’m here as that ally; finding out residents’ needs and connecting them to personalized resources.” Regina Bradley Resident Services Coordinator

Herkimer Apartments


Residents have access to onsite support services 5

Building Neighborhoods

We empower residents to lead neighborhood change. From community arts to resident leadership opportunities, our Community Building and Engagement programs support our residents, commercial tenants, and other neighbors. By strengthening relationships between neighbors and supporting neighborhood leadership initiatives, we see the effects of people-oriented investment.

GROWING INCREDIBLE GARDENS Larry is a long-time resident leader. To him, one thing that makes his apartment community feel like home is the community garden. He and his wife Cindy work alongside fellow residents to maintain the garden throughout the year. It has become a source of pride for him; so much so that he is leading the Community Gardening Council. Larry is collaborating with other gardeners to create a maintenance plan to support over 100+ resident gardeners in more than 14 community gardens across our properties. Larry Noorman Resident Gardener



In the fall of 2017, six residents from Weston Apartments and two Dwelling Place staff attended a four-day Community Leadership Institute conference in Los Angeles, California. The conference, sponsored by NeighborWorks, inspired residents to find ways to better connect their 190 neighbors in Weston Apartments in downtown Grand Rapids. The team is focused on creating compelling events that, in their words, “break the isolation” and “help residents connect to resources and stand up for their rights.”

In November, a team of eight residents crafted videos during a personalized workshop at the Community Media Center. Our community arts initiatives connect residents to cultural organizations in meaningful, one-on-one experiences. From hosting art classes in lobbies to supporting First Fridays events, Dwelling Place’s Community Arts Series engaged over 100 residents and community members in creating culture.


The Numbers 2017


TOTAL ASSETS $123,002,901

TOTAL ASSETS $115,346,950



TOTAL NET ASSETS $80,925,152

TOTAL NET ASSETS $76,549,457


Roosevelt Apartments in Muskegon Heights



Added a new mural at 106 S. Division in collaboration with Cook Arts Center.

Opened our first affordable housing community in Muskegon Heights. Roosevelt Apartments includes 52 apartments.

Renovated 49 historic apartments in the following properties: Chaffee, Calumet Flats, Lenox, Liz’s House, Peterlien

Lenox interior

Chaffee exterior

Expanded to 14 community gardens. Now one-third of our properties have a community garden on site.

Our Heartside Community Gardens donated greens to The Heartside Community Meal which brought in over 250 community members and took home the Jurors Prize in Artprize 2017.

We create affordable and long-lasting housing opportunities in West Michigan – places that people are proud to call home. Financing to create housing opportunity comes from a variety of sources. Investor capital, grants and loans from federal, state and local governments, conventional bank financing, foundation support, and individual donors all provide the essential resources to ensure that dreams of finding a house to call home can become reality. In 2017 alone, that investment totaled more than $31 million to develop new housing communities.


HARRISON PARK AND PINE AVENUE APARTMENTS On the west side of Grand Rapids, new construction is booming, but rising rent is also driving some residents out. Answering the call of neighborhood activists, Dwelling Place is collaborating with Grand Rapids Public Schools, Westside Collaborative, West Grand Neighborhood Association, and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to develop two new affordable housing communities. Harrison Park will offer 45 affordable two and three-bedroom townhomes and apartments adjacent to Harrison Park Elementary School. Pine Avenue Apartments will offer 23 affordable two and three-bedroom townhouse apartments within several blocks of Harrison Park.



Leading with Vision Dwelling Place is a mission-driven organization led by dedicated, community-focused volunteer leaders. The Dwelling Place Board of Directors is committed to a model for governance that addresses the changing needs of the communities we serve. Our 17 board members serve on committees overseeing internal initiatives around housing development, finance, marketing and development, and resident engagement.

BOARD MEMBERS 2017 Annamarie Buller Chairperson David A. Byers Vice-Chairperson and Treasurer Francine Gaston Secretary Thomas Carpenter Daniel Castro Kyle Irwin Holly Jacoby Scott Koop Michael A. McDaniels Richard Stevens Marvin Thomas

REACHING RESIDENTS Our board members know that residents who are empowered to lead make long-lasting impact in their communities. In 2017, the Dwelling Place board formed a board committee for Resident Engagement. This committee brings resident leaders, staff, and board members together to explore new ways to engage with the neighborhoods and communities we serve. Together we are working to create opportunities that support community building, increase neighborhood engagement, and grow resident leadership.

Larry Titley LaTarro Traylor Pete Vander Veen Tommie Wallace Renee Williams The Late Gretchen Minnhaar

LIFETIME MEMBERS Margaret Sellers Walker The Late Larry Bratschie

EXCELLENCE IN GOVERNANCE PROGRAM In 2017 and 2018, a group of five board members participated in the Excellence in Governance Program, an 18-month training program sponsored by NeighborWorks that transforms responsible boards into exceptional ones. These board participants gained insights into team dynamics, brainstormed best practices for board governance, and then worked with the full board to establish a path for implementing best practice business principles.

LaTarro Traylor

Marvin Thomas

Daniel Castro

David Byers

Annamarie Buller Board Chair



At Dwelling Place, our staff share a vision for community development that ensures access to quality affordable housing for everyone in need. The need for dedicated staff committed to this vision continues to grow as the work of Dwelling Place expands across West Michigan. In the past two years, Dwelling Place added nine jobs in property management, social work, maintenance, and finance.

“As a staff, we work together to improve the lives of people throughout West Michigan. By hiring individuals who share a vision of quality affordable housing for everyone, Dwelling Place works toward building a community where diversity, equity, and inclusion are embraced in practice as well as principle.” Justin Rhodes Human Resource Generalist

CREATING PLACES WHERE DREAMS CAN BEGIN Our commercial storefronts and live/work apartments provide opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to transform creative thinking into business success with genuine community impact. Dwelling Place offers flexible traditional retail spaces and live/work apartments that range in size and layout.

“Home is what you surround yourself with, what is inspiring you, and how you express yourself.” Erika Townsley Co-Owner and Curator of Light Gallery + Studio. Residents Matthew and Erika provided the photography throughout this annual report.


Deserves a Dwelling Place

OUR MISSION Dwelling Place improves the lives of people by creating quality affordable housing, providing essential support services and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization.

FOR MORE INFORMATION 616-454-0928 101 Sheldon Blvd. SE, Suite 2 Grand Rapids, MI 49503 dwellingplacegr.org

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