Churches, nonprofit plan affordable housing for downtown Holland

Good News Notes:

Two churches are working with a nonprofit to bring affordable housing to downtown Holland.

“Holland has seen significant rent increases. We’re finding that it’s harder and harder for working class families to be able to find quality places for people to live,” Dwelling Place CEO Jeremy DeRoo said.

If the project goes through, Dwelling Place would own and operate two apartment buildings at Pine Avenue and 10th Street containing a total of 46 units. It would be the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit’s second development in Holland.

The idea came from two neighboring churches, Hope Church and First United Methodist Church. Each had its own plans to use land they own to increase the stock of affordable housing.

“What we have isn’t just for us, it’s not just for us as a congregation, but it’s for us to share with the community as part of our ministry,” LuAnne Stanley Hook, director of community involvement at First United Methodist, said.

Her church started talking about the idea in 2018, when clergy saw a number of people searching for housing. That birthed an initiative to assist the homeless, many of whom were struggling to be rehoused, and soon a research project to study affordable housing.

During that process, First United Methodist learned Hope Church had the same goal.

“It was just all born out of relationship,” Hook said.

She said around during that time, there were at least three different developments that were supposed to add housing but all fell through.

“That concerned us but we thought that church or churches being excited about being in relationship with a development and being part of creating a development would go a long way for making it more of local thing,” Hook said.

The apartments will serve low-income families and at least 11 of the units have been set aside for people with disabilities. The overall goal is to keep more money in renters’ pockets….”

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