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Charity receives $500K grant for housing

• Aug 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Love INC of the Tri-Cities has received a second grant of $500,000 for its housing-related work in the Tri-Cities.

The latest award will support Providence Place, an affordable and handicap-accessible housing complex adjacent to the organization’s sheltered housing complex on DeSpelder Street in Grand Haven.

The local nonprofit launched a capital campaign earlier this year to fund the nearly $1 million acquisition and renovation cost of the building that would become Providence Place, while at the same time submitting a grant proposal to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI) for its maximum award of $500,000. Love INC received this same award in July 2015 for its homeless shelter facilities.

“The FHLBI grants awards based on the priority of housing needs they see in our region,” said Katie Appold, executive director of Love INC of the Tri-Cities. “We were hesitant to prepare another grant submission knowing how much work it would take, and not knowing the likelihood the FHLBI would grant the same organization two consecutive awards. Ultimately, we decided that this need was so prevalent, and aligned so closely with the funding priorities of FHLBI, that it was worth a try. Thank God we did.”

Love INC had raised $480,000 through a capital campaign toward the Providence Place project at the time the grant award was announced.

“The grant is phenomenal and timely,” said David Ten Cate, chairman of the Love INC Board and co-chairperson of the Providence Place fundraising cabinet. “But we can never overlook the role the community has played in providing for this project. It was local families, corporations and our Grand Haven Area Community Foundation which made the initial investment in this needed project.”

The grant funds are restricted for the use of brick-and-mortar expenses related to the project and will be used for the renovation of an existing eight-unit apartment complex on DeSpelder Street. Specific renovations will include a new roof and HVAC system, the addition of solar panels, and the creation of ADA-accessible living spaces on the ground level. The ground level will also feature a community space for small gatherings and social activities.

Providence Place will offer eight housing units with affordable rent levels of $300 per month, or 30 percent of a tenant’s gross income. The rent levels were set at the minimum amount necessary to make the facility sustainable.

Since the acquisition and development costs were raised through grant funding and the capital campaign, the ongoing expense of Providence Place is anticipated to be minimal. Love INC has committed to investing any excess revenue from rent collected into its sheltered housing programs.

“There is beauty in the fact that God has provided for this project through the community,” Appold said. “And now Providence Place has the potential to provide for those hurting in the community.”

The location of Providence Place has led Love INC to dub its DeSpelder Street properties and neighboring partner organizations a “Community Campus,” highlighting the efficiency and convenience of having so many resources in close proximity, as well as the potential for collaboration.

More than 8,000 affordable housing units are needed in Ottawa County, officials say, and the scarcity of this needed housing is exacerbated when there is a need for handicap accessibility.

“This is a small project, but it has the potential to launch something amazing,” said Jen VanSkiver, co-chairperson of the fundraising cabinet. “Our hope is that other communities see Providence Place and recognize their own ability to create something needed, sustainable and collaborative in their own area. We’ll gladly share the recipe.”

For more information on Providence Place or the other programs of Love INC, visit www.loveinctricities.org.

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