2018 Community Report

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2018 Community Report


Live, Work & Dwell 1470


Dwelling Places


Housing Communities

Housing Communities in Development



Apartments Managed for Genesis Non-Profit Housing Corporation

Apartments Owned in Joint Ventures


Counties: Kent, Muskegon,Oceana and Ottawa


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


Grand Rapids Neighborhoods: Baxter, Creston, Heartside, Madison Area, North East Citizens Action, Roosevelt Park, South East Community, SWAN/JBAN, West Grand


Commercial Spaces


Live/Work Apartments

Dear Friends, The change taking place within Grand Rapids neighborhoods is palpable. Change brings excitement and new opportunities for our community, but it also brings challenges for some of its long-time residents who have called this city home. Several years ago, Dwelling Place was brought into conversations with community organizations to address a growing need for affordable housing on the West Side of Grand Rapids. A special concern was for the families with children enrolled in the Challenge Scholars Program, a unique service enriched program with a means to make postsecondary education accessible to every child on the city’s West Side with tuition assistance. Stories of families being priced out of their homes and forced to move outside of the city, away from opportunities like Challenge Scholars moved us to action. In 2018 Dwelling Place broke ground on two developments that will bring 68 two and three-bedroom apartments to the West Grand Neighborhood. Harrison Park and Pine Avenue Apartments will help to ensure that affordable housing will always be available to those who need it. In this report, you will learn about some of the ways we are answering the call for support on the West Side

of Grand Rapid and across West Michigan. You will learn about Saint James Apartments, a collaboration with Genesis NPHC to convert an unused school and adjacent land into 52 affordable housing units just off of Bridge Street. Stories from our board members, staff, and the residents we serve offer insights into how our Housing Development, Property Management, Support Services, and Community Building and Engagement programs are changing lives, neighborhoods, and communities. We are honored to work alongside partners investing in the future of neighborhoods and the people who live and work there. Our capacity to meet growing needs is largely dependent on the support we receive in the communities we serve. We want to thank all who have contributed to meeting those needs.

Dennis Sturtevant, CEO of Dwelling Place 3


Affordable Housing For many, the housing we create provides access to opportunity because of our locations and affordability. For others, who live with mental illness, face addiction, or have experienced homelessness, our housing can make a life-or-death difference. Housing is crucial to the overall stability of a person’s life. It gives them the chance to flourish in their position, their job, their education, their familia and social relationships - it affects everything in their life. Dwelling Place owns and manages 1,278 units of affordable housing in West MIchigan. In 2018, we provided homes to over 1,800 individuals and families. We believe that everyone deserves to have a place to live that’s both affordable and enhances their dignity.

Brandie Lee, Senior Property Manager “What’s unique about what we do at Dwelling Place is that we work where people live —literally—, so you have to practice extra diligence to provide a good and professional experience. For me this would not be possible without the awesome support from my colleagues.”


Diana Sieger, President of Grand Rapids Community Foundation “The West Side is a very proud, close-knit community and Dwelling Place made sure there were affordable apartments specifically for our Challenge Scholars families, so they could remain in the area and benefit from the program.”

Ross Geurink, Project Manager, Pioneer Construction “Pioneer Construction, along with our subcontractor team and over 300 different tradespeople, worked to complete the St. James Apartments & Townhomes. I personally felt a great sense of pride knowing that this project is addressing a need and providing an opportunity for people in our community.”

More than $60 million in housing investment

Empowering Residents One of our goals is to help residents find long-term stability and self-sufficiency through affordable housing and support services. We help residents achieve this by offering personalized, day-to-day support for whatever it is they are dealing with. Permanent supportive housing communities provide homes for persons who were recently homeless, those who are fleeing domestic violence, and people with disabilities. Dwelling Place provides onsite support through eight Resident Service Coordinators who work hand-in-hand with community organizations to support residents across 632 apartments. Beyond those eight staff, we collaborate with partner organizations Pine Rest and Community enCompass to reach an additional 317 households. In 2018, our support services staff work to support over 1,200 individuals and families living in our properties. We are motivated to create communities where residents feel cared for, respected, and uplifted.

Effie Grandberry, Family Support Liaison, Community EnCompass “I really love the close-knit community in Muskegon Heights. The best part of my job is being here as a shoulder, or an ear, even when someone comes in with a problem to solve. Having familiarity is important to me as a person.”

Crystal Crystal, Dwelling Place Resident “Living at Dwelling Place is a blessing for me and my family. My apartment is beautiful and I enjoy working with Dwelling Place staff. When I moved in a year ago, Lisa welcomed me with arms wide open and made me instantly feel like I had someone to go to. With support from community and staff, I am working to build a strong foundation so my family and I can thrive together.”

Lisa Blackburn, Resident Services Coordinator “I am passionate about empowering people and seeing families and people around me grow. In my role, my passion translates into working alongside residents and connecting them to community resources so they can excel.”

29 apartments serving individuals and families fleeing domestic violence


Growing Connections Community building almost always has a ripple effect. With every housing project Dwelling Place invests in, we know it’s an opportunity to create an impact on the scale of a neighborhood. A home gives a person a setting for stability and allows for them to connect with neighbors and engage in the community. As neighbors come together around their common interests, they increase their capacity to effect change. Beyond making a significant difference in the well-being of people and neighborhoods, the community building process creates a tangible sense of belonging. In 2018, our community building and engagement programs touched the lives of over 765 persons who built relationships while growing beautiful gardens, attending national leadership trainings, creating art, and leading community events. We work to empower residents to lead neighborhood change.

Amy Henderson, Volunteer Coordinator “In my role, I bring people from all over our community together to truly show what it means to be a neighbor. From pulling weeds and painting fences, to greeting new neighbors and building connections, Dwelling Place volunteers do the good work, the hard work, the work that is necessary to improve our communities and the lives of others.” 6

Sherry Fris, Resident Gardener at Midtown Village Senior Apartments “I am one of the garden ladies and it is one of the fun things about living here. You get to learn how to grow things and share them with others who can’t work in the garden.”

Sharon Porchia, Dwelling Place Resident 2018 Community Leadership Institute Participant, Los Angeles “I attended a workshop that showed or explained many creative or fun methods of how to make small useful community changes to make big needed or wanted changes. I especially liked that our CLI team meetings included the attendance of rather knowledgeable guest speakers to help our team appropriately choose then outline our projected event. Our CLI management provided event planning worksheets for our CLI team to utilize to better organize our big Luau project which made it seem more scalable to obtain.”

Residents spent 1,500 hours gardening

Building Neighborhoods For a community to thrive we understand that residents need access to amenities and opportunities for work. Dwelling Place owns and leases over 100,000 square feet of diverse commercial space because we know that mixed land use is is an important component to neighborhood revitalization. From our unique live/work spaces, which provide simultaneous commercial and residential opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs, to our traditional retail spaces, which are home to small and large local businesses and institutions, communities see a profound and positive impact on the surrounding streets of a given commercial corridor. Our 45 commercial spaces attract patrons to local shopping districts, employ people in the neighborhoods where they live, and foster neighborhood stability. We are proud to create entrepreneurial opportunities and support businesses in the communities where we offer housing.

Alex Caceres, Business Development Officer, United Bank, Dwelling Place Commercial Tenant “At the heart of our business, United Bank is committed to finding real solutions to fit the needs of the communities we serve. We’re proud to be located in the Heartside neighborhood and to be part of such a vibrant, diverse community.”

Heather Ibrahim, Director of Community Building & Engagement “We are proud to provide a home for local businesses that make an impact on the community. Whether it’s a vital service, such as a bank or social service organization that residents and other neighbors come to rely on, or a live/work space where someone from the arts community can create and sell their work.”

Grow Your Business With Us Dwelling Place offers flexible, traditional retail spaces and live/work apartments that range in size and layout. If you are looking for an immediately available option for your business check out dwellingplacegr.org/properties-page.

18 commercial live/work spaces


Financials 2017


Total Assets $123,002,901

Total Assets $123,126,976

Total Liabilities $42,077,749

Total Liabilities $34,591,746

Total Net Assets $80,925,152

Total Net Assets $88,535,230



In Your Community

Dwelling Place was awarded a $24,000 grant from MSHDA to make improvements to Bethlehem Park in Muskegon Heights

Hosted a groundbreaking celebration for Harrison Park Apartments. This $13.3 million investment will bring 45 2- and 3- bedroom apartments to the West Grand Neighborhood

First annual Neighbor Knowledge Exchange held at 106 S. Division

Annual Downtown Tour of Hidden Gardens led community members through four different resident led community gardens located throughout Grand Rapids’ Heartside Neighborhood

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs contributed $12,360 to support our community arts series in Dwelling Place properties


Passionate Community Advocates Annamarie Buller, Dwelling Place Board Chair 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. 16 board members serve on committees that oversee internal initiatives around housing development, finance, marketing and development, diversity, equity, & inclusion, and resident engagement. Using a holistic approach to regional problems our board members serve the community with a tireless work ethic and passion for creating and retaining affordable housing.

2018 Board Members Annamarie Buller - Chair David Byers - Vice Chair and Treasurer Francine Gaston - Secretary Thomas Carpenter Juan Daniel Castro Kyle Irwin Rich Kogelschatz Mike McDaniels Rick Stevens Marvin Thomas Larry Titley LaTarro Traylor Pete VanderVeen Tommie Wallace Renee Williams 10

“In 2003, I saw the work being done by Dwelling Place and realized for the first time what I wanted to do with my life.” Now, more than 15 years later, Annamarie Buller has served as a Dwelling Place board member, an AmeriCorps Staff member, and has lived in three Dwelling Place Apartment communities. In her current position as Board Chair, Annamarie has worked to establish new committees and is actively identifying passionate housing advocates interested in serving their communities. Annamarie believes that “the success of a human life is so tied to having a place to call home.” If you are interested in joining a Dwelling Place Board committee, contact Annamarie at annamariebuller@gmail.com.

Lunch & Learn You’re invited to connect with Dwelling Place over lunch. Quarterly, we invite community members to visit one of our affordable housing locations for a brief tour to learn more about the history of Dwelling Place, our housing development process, the impact of essential support services, and the variety of our community building and engagement activities. RSVP to: volunteers@dwellingplacegr.org or call (616) 278-1145

Our Team Dwelling Place is an equal opportunity employer and employs over 70 individuals throughout West Michigan. Our staff includes professionals in finance, social work, property management, housing development, community organizing, administration, and maintenance. A strong organizational culture is fostered among staff through cross-departmental collaboration, a variety of training opportunities, and organization-wide gatherings throughout the year.

We’re Hiring At Dwelling Place, our staff share a vision for community development that ensures access to quality affordable housing for everyone. The demand for dedicated staff committed to this vision continues to grow as the work of Dwelling Place expands across West Michigan. We have positions available and listed at: dwellingplacegr.org/job-openings

Issaac Simmons, Maintenance Tech “I have a passion for helping people out - that’s just me. And when you get talking and working with residents, you get to enter their world. Maintenance is a unique way to help people because it’s so personal.”

Laurie Mullennix and Grace Thuo, Accountants Grace and Laurie are both Dwelling Place Accountants who also serve as dedicated members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, which launched in 2018. “The DEI Committee has been a great way to collaborate with staff in other departments,” says Laurie, who has a special passion for process improvements. Grace adds that this type of diverse collaboration is what brings about positive institutional change, remarking, “it’s exciting to brainstorm ways to bridge the gaps within Dwelling Place while accentuating the ways our varied backgrounds build a strong organization.”



For More Information

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

101 Sheldon Blvd SE Ste. 2 Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Ph: (616) 454-0928 Fax: (616) 454-5249



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