ICCF buys 177 properties for affordable housing

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In a time when rental and housing rates continue to skyrocket, efforts to maintain affordable housing in the Grand Rapids area are underway.

In the largest acquisition ever for a West Michigan nonprofit housing developer, the Inner City Christian Federation has finalized its $14.5 million purchase of 177 properties in the greater Grand Rapids and Lansing areas.

The properties translate into 213 rentals right now, but ICCF plans to work with community partners and residents to sell 50 percent of them over the next decade.

“Our hope is that eventually we could take the proceeds from those sales and reinvest them in other properties so that this will become a revolving pool of affordable housing for our neighbors over the next decade,” ICCF CEO Ryan VerWys told 24 Hour News 8.

He credits community support and dedicated financing partners for making the acquisition happen. Those partners include the Barnabas Foundation, CDV5 Foundation, Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, Frey Foundation, National Christian Foundation West Michigan, David and Carol Van Andel Foundation, Jandernoa Foundation and Wege Foundation.

“The community residents in Grand Rapids and the greater area have really been raising awareness about the crisis where in,” VerWys said. “There’s just not enough housing for folks who have low incomes.”

In addition to helping interested residents become homeowners, the ICCF will devote $4.5 million to improving the properties, including increasing energy efficiency and environmental stability.

“For many, home is a place of uncertainty, especially given the current climate of our housing market — a place that doesn’t feel safe. For the households that are part of this portfolio, this is a way to ensure they’ll have an affordable place to come home to,” VerWys added.

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