Nonprofit buys mobile home parks to help with affordable housing
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new property acquisition is helping a West Michigan nonprofit continue its fight against homelessness in the community.
Putting an end to homelessness is the mission of Family Promise of West Michigan.
“There’s families you see all over town and you don’t realize the need that they have, in terms of their housing insecurity,” said Lisa Valk, Chief Operating Officer at Family Promise of West Michigan. “We want every family, every child in our community to go from insecurely housed to securely housed.”
One of the nonprofit’s programs, Partners in Housing, allows Family Promise to rehab manufactured homes. They are then turned into affordable housing opportunities for families in need.
“We’ve done over 200 of these in the last 15 years of creating that opportunity for families to become homeowners,” Valk said.
With the help of donors and partners, the organization recently invested $7 million dollars to become the owner of Country Corners Mobile Estates and the Eastern Villa Mobile Home Park in Grand Rapids.
“Our idea here is to create beautiful places for families and individuals to live. To continue to preserve and protect affordable housing for those who live there and create new opportunities with some of the open spaces there for bringing in new homes for new families and individuals,” Valk said.
The revenue generated at the properties from things like rent will be re-invested into Family Promise services, including emergency shelter and homelessness prevention.
“Every dollar we use to run our programs, we have to go out and find. So we really wanted to make an initiative that would produce revenue for our organization, a way to fund our existing programming,” Valk said.
In the next year or so, Valk anticipates the two manufactured home parks will become profitable. She said she hopes the new initiative will also help Family Promise expand its reach in the future.
“We’d love to someday maybe have a property management company attached to this or buy another park. So we think it will be a springboard for some other opportunities,” Valk said.
She said the previous owners of the two manufactured home parks will help Family Promise manage the properties while they learn the business.
Over time, the nonprofit plans to hire its own staff.