City leaders: Non-profit purchase of 177 homes for affordable housing is necessary

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mic — Inner City Christian Federation is moving forward with plans to purchase 177 houses in Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Eaton Rapids. ICCF is buying these homes from an out-of-state investor and putting control into local hands.

“There hasn’t been a lot of empathy, as we are seeing larger firms buying multiple homes and they go into management companies," said Grand Rapids Planning Director Suzanna Schulz. "For these families that are right on the edge, if they are a couple days late on rent or there is a family circumstance where they are living paycheck to paycheck, it makes it really difficult to be able to have stable housing.”

Schulz said it hasn’t been easy helping families struggling with housing in a growing Grand Rapids, but ICCF’s plan is a game-changer.

“To have local presence with a group that understands the challenges of low-income families and then also works with them to get them from renter to home ownership, they have programs to help educate people, and to be able to provide the stability of families is really necessary to families,” said Schulz.

ICCF is already at work in the community purchasing properties like 501 Eastern that they can build into two four-story buildings, which will provide 65 apartments for low-income housing and 17 apartments for homeless youth. Also, they're working on the Stockbridge apartments on the West side, which will yield 64 apartments, 51 being set aside for workforce housing.

It’s a move the city said can help some survive increasing market prices.

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