‘Fulfilling our mission’

Krystle Wagner • Aug 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM

After a year of renovations, Love in Action’s latest affordable housing complex will officially open next week.

The community is invited to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, at Providence Place, 1618 S. Despelder St. in Grand Haven. That will be followed by an open house and tours of the affordable and accessible eight-unit apartment building.

The event will also include hot dogs, chips, dessert and music.

The building consists of four main-level one-bedroom apartments specifically designed for residents with physical disabilities, and four second-floor two-bedroom apartments.

The building was built in the 1960s as an apartment complex. Love in Action bought the property in 2016, and renovations began soon after. 

The entire cost of purchasing the apartment building and renovations is about $2.4 million.

Love in Action received a $500,000 Affordable Housing Program grant from Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. The project was also made possible by “very generous” donors in the Tri-Cities, said Michael Stowell, executive director of Love in Action of the Tri-Cities.

Main-floor apartments are ADA-compliant, accessible and barrier-free. Bedroom and bathroom doors are at 45-degree angles to accommodate the space needed for wheelchairs.

Counters have spaces for wheelchairs to roll under, and appliances have large handles so that service dogs can help with their opening. The apartments also feature roll-in showers.

“The idea is to help residents live as independent as possible,” said Matt Lehr, housing director for Love in Action.

The second-floor apartments each have two bedrooms and one bath, and have also been entirely remodeled.

The apartments are about 850 square feet each.

The building features a keyless entry system, LED lighting and energy-efficient appliances. Each floor also features a laundry facility for the residents.

In addition to renovations, a corridor was built to connect the building to a garage, which will be available for main-floor residents.

Part of the building’s garage was remodeled into a community room, which has a bathroom, kitchen and space for meetings and entertaining guests. The community room is about 20-by-25 feet.

Love in Action’s nearby Harbor Hall and Hope House guests will take care of the landscaping at Providence Place.

Currently, Love in Action is looking for someone to fulfill the role of a care person at Providence Place from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Lehr said they’re looking for someone who is a certified nursing assistant, has experience as a home health aide or works in a nursing home. That person will help provide care for main-floor residents in the event if they need assistance, are ill or if there was a building evacuation. In exchange for their services, the caretaker will receive reduced rent and a stipend for the times they assist residents.

Other second-floor residents will receive training so they can also help the main-floor residents.

To qualify for Providence Place, residents must make at or below 50 percent of the area median income.

There’s currently a waiting list of about 30 people to be notified when apartments become available. Aside from the website and a newspaper article last year, Providence Place wasn’t advertised. Lehr said the opportunity has been spread by word of mouth because of the need for affordable housing in the Grand Haven area.

According to the United Way’s 2017 A.L.I.C.E. (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report, 36 percent of Ottawa County residents struggle to make ends meet.

With Providence Place, Stowell said they are putting action to their love for people in the community.

“We look at this as fulfilling our mission,” he said.

Want to go?

What: Grand opening of Providence Place, an affordable and accessible apartment building

When: Tuesday, Aug. 15, beginning at 4:45 pm.

Where: 1618 S. Despelder St., Grand Haven

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