Nonprofits and Real Estate

Nonprofits partner on homeless housing

December 26, 2018
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Mel Trotter Lease
Courtesy Mel Trotter Ministries

A nonprofit is leasing two houses from another nonprofit to provide affordable transitional housing.

Mel Trotter Ministries, which serves people experiencing homelessness in Grand Rapids, said last week it is leasing two of the 177 properties purchased last year by the affordable housing nonprofit ICCF.

The two- and three-bedroom homes, located on Grand Rapids’ West Side at undisclosed addresses, were renovated through ICCF by church sponsors and volunteers before leasing to Mel Trotter.

The tenants, who already have begun to move in, are all single men who have completed Mel Trotter programs and have steady incomes, according to Abbey Sladick, Mel Trotter vice president of communication.

ICCF will remain the owner and property manager. Tenants each will pay $350 to $450 in rent to Mel Trotter, which is then paid to ICCF. Tenants are responsible for some utility costs.

Sladick said one tenant in each house will be designated as a peer support person, and all tenants will have access to Mel Trotter services to help continued work toward complete independent living.

Mel Trotter will invest in the cost of a tenant case manager, furniture needed but not donated, and some utility costs.

Mel Trotter guarantees rent to ICCF and therefore will provide safety net funds if tenants have financial trouble and need assistance, Sladick said.

Sladick added Mel Trotter is looking to lease additional properties for transitional housing in the future.

While a lot of the organization’s clients have jobs, she said many do not have transportation, so finding residences on the bus line will be a priority, which she added can be difficult.

Sladick said watching the tenants see their homes for the first time was humbling. Their quality post-renovation exceeded their expectations, she said.

“Our goal is always to provide a dignified and empowering way to help individuals and families leave homelessness for good,” said Dennis Van Kampen, CEO of Mel Trotter Ministries.

Mel Trotter is seeking donations of move-in kits and furniture for the homes.

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