The Inner City Christian Federation is a nonprofit that provides affordable housing services that "encourage family responsibility and independence." Photo via fb.com
Approximately 60 housing units in the Grand Rapids area are in line for a $3.2 million makeover.
Inner City Christian Federation, a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that provides housing and shelter to families in Kent County, began renovation work last month to upgrade the energy efficiency of its 60 rental units spread through 30 duplexes in Grand Rapids. The work is expected to be complete in May 2015, said Jonathan Bradford, ICCF president and CEO.
ICCF is the general contractor for the rehab portion of this project, and it has hired 20 to 25 different sub-contracting firms to perform the job, he said.
“The rehabilitation of the 60 rental units which were developed and have been successfully managed by ICCF since 1991 includes installing new roofs, new kitchens with cabinets, countertops and appliances, and new bathrooms,” according to ICCF. “Additional steps to promote energy efficiency will also be taken, including the installation of 95-percent efficient furnaces, Low E Argon replacement windows, Energy Star rated appliances and high efficiency lighting.”
Most of the units are occupied, and the few that are not will house tenants who are having work done on their living spaces, Bradford said, adding that ICCF is paying to move each of the tenants and their families during these periods. ICCF has this system down to “Swiss watch precision,” he said.
“I know that it’s a hassle, but everybody is delighted. Everybody’s been very happy,” he said. “Their entire interiors will have new painting, new countertops … and because we are putting in higher efficiency furnaces, the cost to heat their units will go down.”
The units are in an area of Grand Rapids that is generally bounded by Wealthy Street on the north, Division Avenue on the west, Madison Avenue on the east and Cottage Grove Street on the south, Bradford said. It’s an area covered by the South East Community Association, a Grand Rapids-based neighborhood association.
“The South East Community Association is the name of the neighborhood association that covers the area where these duplexes are located. In 1988-89, we worked with the neighborhood association to research and write a revitalization plan for the neighborhood,” Bradford said.
“Out of that plan came our development of Pleasant-Prospect Homes phase 1 and 2. Now, today as we do PPH3, we are only continuing our service to the SECA neighborhood.”
The duplexes were built in phases back in the 1990s, Bradford said. The first phase, which consisted of 15 duplexes totaling 30 units, was developed in 1991. The second phase, which also consisted of 15 duplexes totaling 30 units, was finished in 1995.
Due to the procedures involved with securing low income tax credits, ICCF could manage the properties, but could not upgrade them for about 15 years, owing to the fact that “you can’t layer one tax credit commitment on top of another one,” he said. Enough time has now passed, however, where all the duplexes can now be upgraded to better support energy-saving enhancements, he said.