Encore January 2020

Page 16


Building Hope

Builders, nonprofits team up to create ‘attainable housing’ CHRIS KILLIAN


recently launched homebuilding program is set to change the face of some of Kalamazoo’s most economically challenged neighborhoods while placing families in need into homes of their own. The Kalamazoo Attainable Homes Partnership (KAHP), a cooperative effort of local homebuilders and nonprofit housing agencies aims to build eight to 10 new homes each year for a decade in several of the city’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. “This is just the right thing to do — and to do it the right way,” says Jeffrey Tafel, chief executive officer of the Homebuilders Association of Western Michigan, which is joining hands with Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services (KNHS) and Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) to make the program happen. “It’s a program that’s good for Kalamazoo.” The new construction will be in the Eastside, Edison, Northside, Vine and West Douglas neighborhoods, where most of the city’s 350 vacant lots are located, Tafel says. It is hoped that the new construction will help stabilize the housing market in these neighborhoods and generate a modest increase in property values in adjacent areas.

Brian Powers


‘Good for the city’ At first, it was difficult for Tafel to find builders willing to construct homes within the funding constraints of the program, which worked out to about $140 per square foot. The average cost for the kind of construction seen in the program’s homes is $200 per square foot, he says. Above: Among the participants in the Kalamazoo Attainable Homes Partnership are, from left: Dan Martz, Martz Home Builders; John Keverne and Miles Freed, Wausau Homes; Matt Milcarek, KNHS; Kevin Osborne, Osborne Construction; Aaron Hovestadt, LandMark Homes; Troy Freed, Wausau Homes; and Matt Lager, KNHS. Opposite page: Views of a new home’s kitchen and bathroom finishes.