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What is WJH?

Westown Jubilee Housing was born out of a pressing need to address deteriorating housing concerns on the Grand Rapids West Side. Following the homeowner exodus of the 1970’s and the widespread acquisition of the properties by absentee landlords in the 1980’s, our stability as a viable community was severely challenged. The decreasing number of homeowners left local retail businesses stifled and stagnant. Residential units were neglected and arson and crime were on the increase. The faith community envisioned a “call for action” through “The Other Way Ministries” that would engage volunteer skills and “a personal touch” to bring back hope and stability to Westown one homeowner at a time. To date we have launched 45 urban homesteaders, with one more in process at 753 Emperor St SW. Its impact is growing exponentially!

MISSION:

To stabilize our core city community one homeowner at a time, to provide a new beginning, and give great glory to our God!

FOCUS:

The heart of Grand Rapids West Side called Westown. Addressing the vital need for quality, low-cost housing.

METHOD:

To select, train, coach and equip local families to become Westown Jubilee Homesteaders.

RESOURCES:

Good people of faith and vision -- like you -- to volunteer their craft skills, to teach home maintenance principles to raise funds for materials, and to leverage mortgage money.

NEED:

A partner like you...with the ability to help... and a heart to share!


THE PROPHET ISAIAH SAID:

“If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become as noonday. The Lord will guide you always.... ...you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings” (Isaiah 58:10-12). Westown Jubilee Housing has a mandate for action!

FAMILY AND HOME PARALLEL TRACK

A unique feature of the Westown Jubilee Homesteading program is preparing the candidate family and the potential home on parallel tracks. While homes are acquired, remodeled, insured, and insulated, the candidate family (a couple or an individual) is learning money management skills, investing sweat equity hours, and saving up a small down payment nest egg. Many choices (paint colors, siding, appliances, etc.) are made by the homesteader candidate working alongside Christian craftsmen and volunteers. Upon completion and occupancy, a 5 to 8 month trial rental period is established to ensure that all aspects of our mutual covenant are honored. Then a Land Contract sale is completed and a “Housing Coach” is assigned to guide the first year of home maintenance. Most homes have one or more support partners (churches, businesses, mission work groups, etc.) that enable the sale to be below market value and affordable for medium to low income neighbors. A dedication celebration raises our visibility, and welcomes a new neighbor to put down deep roots in Westown.