Nonprofit closes on purchase of 177 properties for affordable housing


The Inner City Christian Federation is a nonprofit that provides affordable housing services that "encourage family responsibility and independence." Courtesy ICCF

A Grand Rapids nonprofit has finalized its acquisition of 177 properties for affordable housing.

The Inner City Christian Federation, or ICCF, said yesterday it closed on its purchase of the properties in the Grand Rapids and Lansing areas from an unnamed Chicago-based investment group after “completing its in-depth research and securing financial partnerships for all properties included in the agreement.”

ICCF said the purchase, which includes 213 housing units, will help preserve affordable rental rates and provide new homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

“One of the chief concerns in urban neighborhoods today is displacement of long-time residents due to rapidly escalating rents and home prices,” said Ryan VerWys, CEO, ICCF. “This purchase is one way our community is coming together to stabilize the housing situation for families and individuals who might otherwise be forced to move or even become homeless.”

There a few other key goals ICCF has for the properties:

  • Partnering with other local housing nonprofits to assure 50 percent of the homes are sold to low- and moderate-income households within 5-10 years, ensuring current tenants who desire to purchase their homes are able to do so
  • Investing $4.5 million to improve the properties, particularly increasing energy efficiency and environmental stability, with at least 75 percent of the properties meeting the Green Home Institute’s standards for Green Star Certification
  • Hiring local contractors who are committed to employing low-income residents from the homes’ neighborhoods

ICCF worked with the Crete, Illinois-based Barnabas Foundation for long-term financing of the project.

ICCF also said the deal included a number of other equity and financing partners: the CDV5 Foundation; Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation; Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation; Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation; Frey Foundation; National Christian Foundation West Michigan; David and Carol Van Andel Foundation; Jandernoa Foundation; and the Wege Foundation.

Holly Jackson and Tim Orlebeke from the Grand Rapids-based law firm Kuiper Orlebeke represented ICCF legally in the purchase.


Founded in 1974, the Inner City Christian Federation’s programs include Family Haven emergency shelter, 168 units of affordable rental housing, newly constructed homes for purchase, homeownership education and financial counseling.

The nonprofit serves more than 2,200 households a year through its programs and services.

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