2019 Community Report

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2019 Community Report





1. Dwelling Place staff from Weston Apartments dressed up to join residents and their families for a Halloween celebration. 2. Giving is Growing celebrated 402 volunteers with an evening of outdoor fun and food. The event brought together residents, staff, and volunteers. 3. Board Vice Chairperson, Juan Daniel Castro, entertained guests at Our Westside Story, raising $124,000 for Dwelling Place. 4. Huntington Bank collaborated with Dwelling Place and many others to revitalize the Wealthy Street Corridor back in 2000. With branch banking services located in a Dwelling Place property, they have served as an anchor and great community partner, serving this southeast neighborhood for many years. 5. Resident gardeners from Roosevelt Apartments showed off their lush plot to Muskegon Heights Mayor Kimberly Sims.


Dear Friends, Dwelling Place’s orgins are rooted in a recognition that community engagement, advocacy, and capital investment will always be essential components to address housing needs. Those needs manifest in a variety of ways over time, sometimes requiring differing strategies in different neighborhoods and communities. What has not changed is the impact that quality housing can have on people’s lives, especially if it is affordable. Those with access to stable housing are more likely to perform better in school and at work. They are also more likely to access opportunities for personal and professional growth. I often ask people to reflect on their own life story and consider the many ways the home they grew up in or the home where they now live has affected their lives and the opportunities and choices presented to them. The responses I receive almost universally point to the essential nature of home to our well-being and our future. From its humble origins in 1980, Dwelling Place now owns and manages more than 1,400 affordable homes and apartments in West Michigan. In 2019, we embarked on plans to create another 119 affordable apartment homes for families in two important west side neighborhoods in Grand Rapids. The West Grand Neighborhood saw construction continue for Harrison Park and Pine Avenue Apartments while the Roosevelt

Park Neighborhood saw construction start on two new buildings bringing 48 apartments as part of the much larger Plaza Roosevelt Collaboration. We also began planning for a major renovation at our Ferguson Apartments, 119 permanent supportive apartments in the Heartside Neighborhood. In total, these 5 projects represent a $60,000,000 investment in affordable housing in Grand Rapids. As impressive as the scope of this development activity is by the numbers, what is most important about these initiatives is the impact they will have on the lives of hundreds of families who need and want a place to call home. The stories presented in this report offer glimpses of the overall impact Dwelling Place has had in the community. Thanks for your committment, engagement and support.

Denny Sturtevant Dwelling Place CEO - 32 Years

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Living Nelson Borrero, Dwelling Place Resident

Our impact: 1,346 affordable homes for residents across West Michigan.

Our residents and the neighborhoods we serve can be assured that no matter what kinds of changes occur in their neighborhood, no matter how much development takes place or how expensive real estate becomes, they will have a place they can afford to live. Affordable housing is not a problem to solve; it is a challenge that changes as time goes on, and it varies from place to place. Changing economic conditions directly affect the need for affordable housing and its availability for those who need it.

“He vivido aquí por 18 años. Todos alrededor de este vecindario ya me conoce, y yo conozco a todos - ¡me encanta vivir aquí! Dwelling Place está haciendo más casas, y se ve más bonito, más creativo, y mucho mejor.” “I’ve lived here for 18 years. Everyone around the neighborhood knows me, and I know everyone too - I love living here! Dwelling Place is making new homes, and it makes it look more beautiful, more creative, and much better.”

Kimberly Niezurawski, Senior Property Manager “Over the past 25 years, I have helped thousands of people into housing who might not ordinarily have access to quality affordable housing. I work in a rural setting where the need for quality affordable housing is just as great.”

Aaron Yonker President & Co-Owner, Wolverine Building Group “Wolverine Building Group values our relationship with Dwelling Place. It is rewarding to know that the buildings we construct are playing an important role in the affordable housing crisis. We are proud to work alongside this great community partner.”

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apartments under development in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park Neighborhood


apartment communities owned and managed by Dwelling Place

Thriving Whitney Lee, Dwelling Place Resident “I wanted a place I was proud of and this is the best place I have ever lived in. I needed a place that kept my son enrolled in Challenge Scholars and gave him a safe space to play outside. I found those things and more in my new home and I can’t wait for what the future holds for my family. I’ve found a sense of community in property staff, Brittany and Sarah, and my neighbors and I know they are there for me when I need them. I am grateful for that.”

Sarah Faubert, Program Manager, GVSU Family Health Center (FHC)

Our Impact: 676 individuals receiving wrap-

around support services from 9 Resident Services Coordinators at Dwelling Place properties. What does it mean to thrive? It means knowing that no matter what problems challenge your housing stability and well-being, you will have access to resources and support to overcome obstacles. Resident services range from ensuring that basic needs are met to enhancing financial well-being and physical and mental health. The Support Services offered through Dwelling Place apartment communities are essential to building life skills for the long haul.

Brittany Paris, Resident Services Coordinator

“Dwelling Place’s dedication to providing supportive services as well as housing makes them the perfect partner. We are honored to be among the services Dwelling Place offers to their residents,” says Sarah Faubert. The GVSU Family Health Center, operated by the Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University, opened its satellite clinic at Reflections, a senior housing community, in 2019 to provide on-site primary health care services to its residents. “The thing that sets the FHC apart from other primary care offices is its proximity to both its patients and other Reflections residents. The relationships that have blossomed from simply spending time with people are unlike those found in other health care systems.”

“I enjoy that we offer more than just a place to live, but a support system as well. It’s rewarding to be a consistent person for our residents. They know that I am here if they need resources or even just a person to talk with.”


permanent supportive housing apartments


properties with on-site support services staff

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Belonging Victoria Kool, Dwelling Place Resident Our Impact: 72 community engagement events serving over 900 residents.

Creating a sense of belonging is key for any residence to feel like a genuine home. At Dwelling Place, we engage with residents who in turn engage with each other to instill a sense of belonging. By supporting resident efforts in community engagement, we ensure that the identities, interests, and values of residents are reflected in the cultures of their apartment communities. Whether it begins in the form of neighborhood cookouts, community gardening programs, or series of art activities, creating a sense of belonging means people show up for each other.

Brian Molhoek

Julia Ervin

Haley Stichman

“Coming to Heartside, I remember when I first moved into my apartment… it was the first time I ever felt independent.” Victoria’s sense of independence was taken to new heights when Dwelling Place reached out to her about organizing arts-based activities for fellow residents. After participating in the Community Leadership Institute training program, she feels empowered to make a difference. “I really walked away with a sense of ‘I can do this.’” Now, Victoria takes pride in creating activities that help her neighbors feel like they belong.

The second annual Neighbor Knowledge Exchange brought together over 140 Heartside neighbors to connect with 24 local community organizations.

2019 AmeriCorps VISTA Members Whether VISTA members are designing new leadership opportunities for residents to get involved in, crafting curriculum for in-depth life skills training, or recruiting community members to engage in grass roots action, they contribute in profound ways to the efficacy of Dwelling Place’s mission to improve the lives of people.


residents engaged


community gardens grown

Investing Eric Blanding, Premier Skate Shop “We’ve been in Heartside since 2005 and like the neighborhood’s diversity, quirkiness, and edginess. For us, we always envisioned a skate shop being in the city and not in the suburbs. Downtown works great because most people skate in the area and it serves as a meeting place. Our location is really cool and unique; because of the live/work design we have a great office in the back and the store up front. Over the years we’ve developed our e-commerce, kept up with in-person apparel, skateboard, and shoe sales and in 2020 we plan to test a second location.”

Invest In Your Neighborhood A $50,000 grant from Republic Services supported the engagement, design, and implementation of a senior excerise park and walking path at Roosevelt Apartments in Muskegon Heights.

Our Impact: More than 100,000 square feet of diverse commercial space in critical neighborhood corridors.

The creation of opportunities for commercial growth is integral in building strong neighborhoods. Dwelling Place offers a variety of spaces that fit the needs of diverse businesses. Whether you are an artist looking for a place to live and create, a catering company growing its operation, or a financial institution with a commitment to serve patrons from across the city, we have spaces that can meet your specific needs and help your business grow.

Kellie Kitchen, Community Leadership Institue Team Member “I appreciate all the time Dwelling Place puts into this community leadership team, community, and our concept. It makes me proud to be in this neighborhood.”With a team of seniors and staff from the Bethlehem neighborhood, Ms. Kitchen, Muskegon Heights resident and City Coucilwoman, is helping guide the vision for a new community park developed by Dwelling Place at Roosevelt Apartments.


commerical spaces


Grand Rapids business districts

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Total Assets $123,126,976

Total Assets $142,004,571

Total Liabilities $34,591,746

Total Liabilities $37,945,371

Total Net Assets $88,535,230

Total Net Assets $104,059,200

National Neighborhood Promise Day celebrated a grant from Republic Services through a volunteer event at Roosevelt Apartments in Muskegon Heights.




1. Annual Tour of Downtown Hidden Gardens guided 20+ community members through resident-led gardens. 2. New Hopes Homes provides 12 two and three bedroom townhomes for families in Grand Rapids. 3. City Built Brewery participated in a Property Day to clean up the grounds of St. James Apartments and Townhomes. 4. Tour of Downtown Vacant Spaces offered a glimpse at the variety of commercial rental property along South Division Avenue. 5. Community Garden Coordinator, Jonathan DeHaan, led 15 field trips for residents to Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. 3



Leading 2019 Board Members

Our Impact: 17 board members leading the organizational

direction and strategic oversight of the organization through six standing board committees. Our Board of Directors is comprised of a diverse group of dedicated servant leaders recruited from the community, including experts in housing, finance, property management, fundraising, community engagement and persons with lived experience. One third of the Board includes residents of Dwelling Place properties and residents who live in the neighborhoods where Dwelling Place operates housing programs.

Francine Gaston, Dwelling Place Board Secretary “I believe in the mission of Dwelling Place, and their desire to provide affordable housing for those who are vulnerable speaks to my passion. Serving on the board provides a means to give back to the community where I grew up. Though I professionally worked in the banking and community development industry for years, being on the board has given me a new understanding of the affordable housing and community development world and kept me abreast of current and future issues.” Page 9

Annamarie Buller - Chair Juan Daniel Castro - Vice Chair David Byers - Treasurer Francine Gaston - Secretary Thomas Carpenter Sadie Erickson Kyle Irwin Rich Kogelschatz Mike McDaniels Gil Segovia Rick Stevens Larry Titley Marvin Thomas LaTarro Traylor Pete VanderVeen Tommie Wallace Williams, Renee

Juan Daniel Castro, Dwelling Place Board Vice-Chair “The staff who interact with the day-to-day aspect of Dwelling Place should have a say in what lies ahead for the organization because they have a better pulse on the needs and capacity of the individuals and communities we are serving...they have a better environmental scan.” In 2019, the Dwelling Place Board of Directors approved a 3-year strategic plan. “As a board member, I am happy to see those voices incorporated into plans to move the organization forward.”


Our Impact: 75 dedicated individuals employed across West Michigan.

For all of Dwelling Place’s contributions to the community, we rely on our staff’s ability to effectively engage residents, administrators, partners, and elected officials in improving lives in West Michigan. Our dedicated team includes professionals in finance, social work, property management, housing development, community organizing, administration, and maintenance. To strengthen organizational culture we regularly gather staff to celebrate, learn, and connect. Together, we are building stronger communities.

Aaron Price, Maintenance Tech “Before working at Dwelling Place I never knew how impactful working with your hands could be. Minor fixes like replacing a lightbulb or cleaning a dingy light fixture can create incremental change in the emotional state of our residents. It is instances like these that really give me a sense of purpose and appreciation for the work we do.”

Chris Bennett and Stephen Wooden, Housing and Community Development “By building relationships and trust with our community partners,” Stephen explains, “we deepen our impact and open doors to new and exciting opportunities.” “I am thankful to be part of an organization with so many thoughtful and caring peers,” says Chris. “We work together to do our best in every consideration of individuals, residents, and the communities we serve.”

We Are Hiring: dwellingplacegr.org/job-openings

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