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Habitat Kent Blog

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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     “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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     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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For Habitat Kent homebuyers, even an average day can be challenging. Balancing work, family, and earning sweat equity takes organization and commitment. Listen how one of our homebuyer's makes time for a home maintenance class and learns valuable information for her future home. 


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    Every month Donaldo Hernandez leads members of his church on a journey that could change the trajectory of their lives. The church members are seeking immigration consulates over 150 miles away in Chicago and Detroit. Donaldo helps provide his congregation with the knowledge and resources to become United States citizens.

     “There’s a lot of fear in the immigration process,” said Hernandez, a Habitat Kent homeowner who works at Church of the Restoration in Wyoming, MI. “There are lots of people in Michigan who are good people and indigenous people that are suffering.”

     Hernandez and his family applied for the Habitat Kent homeownership program in 2011 after having his own personal immigration struggles.

     “I was deported in 2007 and I was in Honduras for three and a half years working through this process.”

     While Hernandez was thousands of miles from his family, he got a first-hand experience of Habitat’s impact globally.

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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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425 Pleasant Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503