Community Homes Initiative

The Community Homes Initiative

This program is focused on renewing and restoring homes to families in our neighborhood, preserving these properties for affordable housing. It began with a purchase of 213 housing units in fall of 2017, something unprecedented in ICCF’s long history. In 2018 we took on 35 more and began renovating and restoring the properties. And we’re not done yet.

248 Affordable Homes

In 2017-2018 we took on what is by far the largest real estate portfolio in our history – 248 homes, previously owned by one out-of-state investment firm managing them to provide above-average return to investors. All of them are now being renewed by ICCF to assure their continued availability and affordability for low and moderate income households.

This is not something ICCF has done on its own. This is a community effort, including strong financial backing and leadership by key local foundations who provided nearly $10 million in private grants and investment. We also were blessed with enthusiastic support from the cities of Grand Rapids and Wyoming, as well as other area nonprofit housing organizations.

The Challenge

Hot Housing Market = Rising Rental Rates

Grand Rapids’ housing market is now one of the hottest in the nation. Houses sell quickly and prices keep increasing. The area is thriving and property investors are confident and plentiful. But for those of us who are concerned about housing for low and moderate income families and individuals, there is true cause for concern. The dynamics in today’s hot housing market are very different than they were in preceding decades, when urban neighborhoods were too often characterized by disinvestment and discrimination. Today, the chief concern in urban neighborhoods is not disinvestment but displacement caused by rapidly escalating prices and rents. Here are the facts:

  • Between 2011 and 2016, area median income rose 18%
  • Since 2011, the median home price has risen 64%
  • Since 2011, the average rent for a two-person bedroom apartment has increased by 49%
  • Between 2011 and 2016, the percentage of area homes sold for less than $100,000 decreased from 49% to 15%, dropping to 11% in 2017 to date
  • Of the 44,880 community homes in the city of Grand Rapids, 24% are investor-owned

Sources: US Census Bureau ACS, Grand Rapids Association of Realtors, Department of Numbers, Michigan Radio,

The Opportunity

Community Homes Portfolio Initiative

The acquisition of these 248 mostly single-family homes will preserve affordable rental rates and provide new homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income families and individuals.

Key goals and objectives for the properties include:

  • Partnering with other local housing nonprofits to assure 50 % of the homes are sold to low and moderate income households within 5-10 years. Through the Community Homes Land Trust, current tenants who desire to purchase their home have the opportunity to do so.
  • Investing $4.5 million to renew the properties with special attention to increasing energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and environmental stability of the homes.
  • Hiring local contractors who are committed to employing low income residents of the neighborhoods in which the homes are located.
  • Creating green, energy-efficient, Green Star Certified homes through a grant from the Wege Foundation.

By the Numbers

Total number of properties

Number of single family homes

Number of duplexes & multi-family buildings

Total number of housing units

  • 188 In Grand Rapids and Wyoming
  • 60 In Lansing and Eaton Rapids

$4.5 Million
Anticipated cost of renovations and capital improvements (over 10 years)

Affordable housing is a critical need in our city, and we are grateful to ICCF for its incredible work around this issue. This initiative will provide real and lasting change in our community for generations to come.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss


This significant purchase provides new avenues for collaboration in our community. Please consider how you might get involved:

Pray for families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness or whose housing is at risk; for those whose housing is inadequate and who long for a home that fits their family’s needs; for those who feel locked into circumstances which offer them no hope; for ICCF and others who seek to provide affordable options and services to help people cope, grow, and thrive.

Learn how we got into this housing crisis and how you can be part of the solution by attending an ICCF Lunch & Learn or through ICCF staff visiting your business or church. For more information contact Steve Dyer at [email protected].

Volunteer Help us beautify affordable housing in Grand Rapids! We have weekday and select Saturday opportunities for volunteer groups, associations, businesses, and churches to help with interior paint, spring cleanup, landscaping, and creating welcome baskets. For more information contact Sheryl Baas at [email protected].

Goods & Services Professional construction services and materials are needed on almost all of these homes. If your business or church has skilled tradespeople or supplies that you would like to donate then Sheryl Baas at [email protected].

Give Your financial contribution is critical in this new day when dramatically rising rents and home prices are creating enormous challenges for those of our neighbors living in poverty and those whose limited incomes are simply not enough. Contact Chris Hall at [email protected] to find out how your church or business can sponsor all or part of a home or give a secure, tax deductible gift here.



Barnabas Foundation

CDV5 Foundation

Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation

Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation

Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation

Frey Foundation

Jandernoa Foundation

National Christian Foundation West Michigan

Steelcase Foundation

David and Carol Van Andel Family Foundation

W. K. Kellogg Foundation

The Wege Foundation

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