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Habitat for Humanity raises millions for West Side | News

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Habitat for Humanity raises millions for West Side

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Habitat for Humanity is raising millions to help revitalize Grand Rapids' West Side.

For more than 30 years Habitat for Humanity in Kentwood has fixed homes, but Wednesday the organization announced a plan to revitalize neighborhoods over the next two years.

The plan is called Building Blocks and will use $5 million in donations to build 18 new homes, rehabilitate 22 others, and repair another 160.

Mary Buikema, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity, announced the plan Wednesday morning that has been in the works for over three years. "Up until now it has taken 30 years to help 400 families and now we want to impact 200 families in the next two years."

Building Blocks will focus on neighborhoods around five schools on Grand Rapids' West Side. "We are not coming in and tearing down everything and rebuilding," says Buikema. "We are not gentrifying neighborhoods; we are sustaining existing neighborhoods."

"Improving homes improves communities," says Buikema. "We are going to see less vacant homes. We are going to see homes looking better and property values going up. It definitely has impacted the level of crime because neighbors are getting to know each other there are more home owners, more tax payers, more resources to put back into the city."

So far Habitat for Humanity has raised $3.5 million of their $5 million goal and you can help by going to http://www.habitatkent.org/you-can-help/donate.