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Habitat Kent

Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.

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Habitat Kent

Habitat Kent

Seeking to put God's love into action, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope. 

      Peisly Guzman and her eight-year-old son, Joshua, are ready for their next chapter of life in their new Habitat home.

     For Peisly and Joshua, their new home is a world away from the small, one-room basement where they have to share a bed. 

     “My dream in being a single mother is to provide for my son and eventually pass the home on to him. He won’t stop talking about his room and how he’s going to design it. This has been the greatest accomplishment of my life, next to being a mother,” Peisly said. 

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Kayla Lopez and her four children Anyah (9), Semyra (8), Jermaine (6), and Sevaeh (3) are excited for their new life in their Habitat home. 

     For Kayla, the journey to homeownership has been over two and half years, but despite the long journey, it’s been “so worth it.” Being on her own since 17, she’s no stranger to obstacles in life. “There were a lot of feelings and emotions along the way and I found myself praying a lot as far as, ‘God if this is your will, let it be,’” Kayla said. “Without God it couldn’t have been possible. I’ve never been able to get a loan from the bank towards homeownership.” 

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     Jasmine Mendez has been working hard to make sure her two sons Octavio (5) and Carlito (2) will be moving into their Habitat home this summer. In fact, 5-year-old Octavio asks Jasmine if they can go to their “new home” every day. He says he wants to make sure that, “the people know how to build my room.” 

     Jasmine has worked with a local manufacturer for five years and this August will be finishing her schooling to pursue a career in medical billing and coding. 

     Jasmine is especially excited for the stability her Habitat home will provide her sons' stability that she’s never had. “My whole life I’ve been always moving, all the time. As a kid, if I didn’t switch schools three times per year then it wasn’t normal to me. I couldn’t make friends or call anywhere home. It was really hard for us. Life was chaotic.” 

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Below is a guest blog post by expert DIY Theresa Clement.

     Spring is here, and DIY makeover ideas are springing up like crazy in my brain.

     So when I spied a few rows of wood chairs at the Habitat for Humanity Bucks County ReStore, my DIY day was made. I knew I could turn one of them into a DIY planter for new flowers to liven up my porch.

     Some chairs were in pairs but most were singles, and all of them were $5 or less. A bargain if you want a chair, and a huge opportunity for a springtime repurpose project. 

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     Habitat for Humanity has been named “Brand of the Year” in the social services nonprofit category based on the 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Equity Score. This is the second consecutive year the global nonprofit has been recognized for its strength in brand equity.

     In addition, Habitat for Humanity earned the distinction of being named the “Most Loved” and “Most Trusted” brand within its category this year.

     “The reason we are able to humbly receive this recognition is because of the dedicated homeowners, volunteers, and donors who actively share the mission of Habitat Kent,” said Habitat for Humanity of Kent County Executive Director Bri McKee.

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     The SpartanNash Foundation is pleased to announce that it has raised $20,200 for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County in partnership with SpartanNash store guests.  Participating stores and fuel centers in Kent County included Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Markets, and Forest Hills Foods and fuel centers.  The campaign ran March 4-13, 2016.

     SpartanNash (formerly Spartan Stores) has partnered with Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Michigan since 2006 and surpassed the $1 million donation mark in 2015. The company has also supported eight home builds with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County (the most recent of which was a home build for a veteran in 2015) and sponsored the 100th LEED-certified home by Habitat Kent (MI) in 2012.  

     In 2016, SpartanNash expanded its partnership with Habitat for Humanity affiliates in seven additional states (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin) where the company operates retail stores.  Together with the SpartanNash Foundation, $114,500 was raised and 100% of funds raised will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity affiliate serving the community where the dollars were raised. 

Read more about SpartanNash's regional scan program for Habitat for Humanity. 

Join SpartanNash in helping provide strength and stability for families in Kent County.

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     Samai grew up in Sierra Leone and came to the United States when she was 10 years old. “I lived in a mud hut and slept on a dirt floor in a war-torn country. To me, everything is an incredible blessing. My job. My family. And now this home. Where I come from, I couldn’t even have dreamt of owning my own home.” 

     Samai and her children Jonathan, Dee, Brandon, Bryan, and Rebecca are ready for their next chapter in life at their Habitat Kent home. “We’re ready. We couldn’t be more ready. Living in a three bedroom apartment got a little too cramped for us,” Samai said. “The twins have been sleeping in the same room as me.” 

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   Below is a guest blog post written by Tom Rademacher b2ap3_thumbnail_Tom-Rademacher.jpg

       It began with a gentle reference to Chinua Achebe, one of Africa’s most celebrated storytellers.

     It concluded with a profound quote from American writer Anne Lamott.

     Not your typical luncheon.

     But just the kind you might expect from Habitat for Humanity Kent County -- an organization that puts people first.

     Upward of 100 men and women gathered recently to engage a trio of speakers – Kenyatta Brame, executive vice president at Cascade Engineering; the Rev. Doriane Parker-Sims, pastor at Kingdom Life Ministries; and Robert Torres, executive director of the Hispanic Center of West Michigan.

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     On March 4, 2016, the SpartanNash Foundation is launching a companywide fundraising campaign in partnership with Habitat for Humanity local affiliates where corporate-owned retail stores are located. The scan will run through March 13, 2016.

     At all Kent County Family Fare Supermarkets, D&W Fresh Markets, Forest Hills Foods and Fuel Centers, customers will have the opportunity via any checkout lane to donate $1, $5 or $10 to Habitat for Humanity Kent County. When customers make a donation, they will receive four coupons toward Spartan® brand products. Stores will hold additional fundraising activities during the 10-day fundraiser. The SpartanNash Foundation will donate 100% of funds raised to the Habitat for Humanity affiliate serving the community where the dollars were raised. SpartanNash corporation underwrites the cost of the campaign through its more than 160 stores and provides volunteer opportunities for associates to assist with home builds.

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Stability and opportunity. 

A well-funded endowment provides a permanent source of support for addressing Habitat Kent's existing and future needs.

  • Allows the development and implementation of new and better programs while growing Habitat Kent's core services.
  • Provides balanced income streams ensuring Habitat Kent's mission can weather periods of economic unsteadiness or unexpected expenses.

Endowments are vital to donors!

An endowment gift perpetuates the donor's values; it provides assurance that Habitat Kent's service to families in need will survive the donor. 

  • Your life's work and passion for change can live on indefinitely.
  • The endowment principal will not be spent and will grow; providing a source of lasting support and personal legacy.
  • Your annual giving to Habitat can last forever. For example: if you currently give $1,000 a year to Habitat Kent, a $20,000 endowment gift will ensure that Habitat Kent receives that annual gift of $1,0000, FOREVER! Your generosity will be invested in the lives of local low-income families in need of housing, FOREVER! (Actual distribution ranges from 4%-5.75% annually. Example given based on 5%)

Why Grand Rapids Community Foundation?

An endowment at GRCF means Habitat Kent's service will expand, remain healthy, and continue to revitalize our community's families and neighborhoods!

  • GRCF handles investment management and oversight; all accounting and financial reporting; and an annual audit.
  • Being invested in GRCF's larger pool of assets can lead to greater growth, greater income and lower investment fees.
  • GRCF can facilitate complex gifts from donors.
  • GRCF provides Habitat Kent's donors with access to planned giving resources; enabling Habitat Kent's staff and resources to be allocated to fulfilling its mission. 
  • Being listed in GRCF's annual report puts Habitat Kent's name and mission in front of our area's leading philanthropists. 
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     “I was bit by the Habitat bug a couple of years ago,” said Habitat Kent homeowner Tennille Harkness. Tennille paused and got a bit choked up while sitting in her living room just two years removed from moving into her Habitat home.

     “I’m definitely blessed. The timing was perfect. The conditions of my old living situation weren’t healthy,” Tennille said. “I worked hard in the Habitat program for my kids. And I want them to eventually own this home in years to come.”

     However, the “Habitat bug” did more than build a home for Tennille and her four kids. It also gave her the itch to serve her block on the west side of Grand Rapids. This itch to serve manifested itself this past week when Tennille accepted a position on the board of the West Grand Neighborhood Organization.

     “I’m excited to be on the board and represent the residents on the west side,” Tennille said.

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     Grand Rapids Community Foundation today announced a $500,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. The grant will support Habitat Kent’s Building Blocks strategy that focuses on neighborhood revitalization in Grand Rapids’ west side through new home construction and rehab and repairs of existing homes.

     Habitat Kent will develop and preserve affordable housing opportunities and revitalize west side focus neighborhoods by partnering with 120 families to build or repair their homes. The strategy is a continuation of Habitat Kent’s recent two-year neighborhood revitalization campaign that took a holistic approach of creating affordable housing in Grand Rapids neighborhoods.

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     Steve, Beth, Nilay, Melodi, Kyle, Arie, and Evelyn are thrilled for their new home at 1019 Sibley. Steve didn’t expect a conversation about Habitat with a friend two years ago would lead to a new home without a leaky roof. No more buckets are needed in the family room now, only buckets of fun.

     Steve and Beth appreciated earning sweat equity hours and have learned a lot in their partnership with Habitat Kent. “My character has grown because of this Habitat process,” Steve said. In order to complete construction hours, Steve used his vacation time at work. Steve and Beth also appreciated Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and implementing financially disciplined concepts.

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     After an extensive national search, the Habitat for Humanity of Kent County board of directors has appointed BriAnne McKee as executive director.

     McKee brings more than a decade of experience to her new leadership role, most recently serving as the director of volunteer services before stepping into the position as interim director. She joined Habitat Kent as a mortgage application specialist in the homeowner services department in 2012.

     More than 100 individuals applied for the position during the two-month long search to find a successor for Mary Buikema, who left earlier this year.

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     The new year brings much excitement for the Martin family as they look forward to a new chapter in their Habitat home. Luke, Megan, Annalise (3 years) and Asaph (6 months) are especially ready for stability, having moved five times in their six years of marriage. 

     The past couple of years Luke and Megan have been paying rent for a crowded, moldy, 2-bedroom apartment in Wyoming. Lack of homebuying education, the perception of debt, and affordability prevented the Martin’s from homeownership. The Martin’s two-year partnership with Habitat started with a simple trip to the ReStore. Luke walked in looking for a door knob for their current apartment and left with a pamphlet of information on starting a story of partnership.

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     Shaun, Yvette, and their children Nyasia, (16) Shaun Jr., (13) and Tayshaun, (10) are thrilled to be moving into their Habitat home on Grand Rapids’ west side. The home build was sponsored by Thrivent Financial. Yvette discovered Habitat Kent’s program through one of her friends, an 11-year Habitat homeowner. they’re excited to leave the cramped rented house they have been living in.

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     The Beer City Saxophone Ensemble will perform on Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. in a concert featuring a wide variety of jazz arrangements with rhythm section.  This event is open to the public at Christ Lutheran Church, 2350 44th Street SW, Wyoming, Michigan.  This swinging group includes saxophonists Gary McCourry, Jim Hayward, Mike Lutley, Tom Lockwood, Tom Stansell, Greg Marsden, and Bob Nixon and will be joined by pianist Steve Talaga, drummer Eddie Eicher and bassist Joe Oprea.  Free will offerings will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Kent County.

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     Clovis, Fany, Johanne (8), Arthur (6) and Grace (2) are excited for a new chapter in their lives. A two-bedroom, one bathroom apartment has been too crowded for the Moyopo-Djouguem family, and they’ve lived in various locations since immigrating to the United States in 2012.

     “My main motivation for moving to the United States was because I love my children,” Clovis said. “I want a better future for them.”

     Clovis found out about Habitat Kent’s homeownership program through his brother, another Habitat Kent homeowner, and he feels blessed that his family “can have a new start.” This new start means a quality education for the children and a continued education for both Clovis and Fany. Clovis wants to eventually continue his education in the health care field while Fany is studying to become an electrician.

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     The Habitat for Humanity of Kent County Board of Directors has appointed BriAnne McKee, the organization’s director of volunteer services, as interim director. She replaces Mary Buikema, Habitat Kent’s visionary executive director, who will leave her position on Nov. 2 as she transitions into a new life with her new husband and children outside of Ann Arbor.

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425 Pleasant Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503