Tag Archive for: Life Outside of Loans

Habitat for Humanity Logo

Hometown Highlights: Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity

The Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity is so much more than building homes!

Based in Grand Haven, they are also able to service the southern Muskegon areas of Norton Shores, Roosevelt Park, and Fruitport. With the support from donors and volunteers, they continue to help those with priority home repair needs and can provide families in our communities with the opportunity to have a safe, affordable place to call home.Habitat for Humanity Logo

Below are some of the programs TCAHFH offers and where donor dollars go to help with these initiatives.

  • PRIORITY HOME REPAIR – Our program allows eligible homeowners to access dollars to make repairs to their property that are essential to health and safety.
  • VETERAN’S BUILD AFFILIATE – This national initiative provides housing solutions and volunteer and employment opportunities to US Veterans, military service members and their immediate families. Veterans in Ottawa and Muskegon County may be eligible to receive repair dollars that will improve their basic housing, as well as assistance in accessing other resources.
  • HOME CONSTRUCTION – Donor dollars, alongside volunteer labor, help us with the purchase of land, materials, supplies and labor of new home construction or rehab for our partner families’ homes. Each family commits to 200-400 hours of sweat equity.
  • A BRUSH WITH KINDNESS – A subset of our construction duties would be the ABWK program. This is a program that concentrates on “repairing” the outside of homes that are already owned by the homeowner but can’t be maintained due to financial difficulties. Many of the individuals using this program are seniors.
  • ReSTORE – A place to recycle building materials to keep them from the landfill and allow customers to make home improvements at affordable prices.
  • CARS FOR HOMES – Your used car (or truck/boat/van) can help build a new home for a family in need. We’ll arrange everything and even pick it up for you! (Tax deductible as allowed by law.)
  • AGING IN PLACE – This national initiative provides home repairs to keep low-income seniors safe in their homes. It may include modification to the interior to accommodate a wheelchair, etc.

If you are planning a home improvement project, or if you have items in your garage or basement that you would like to get rid of, donate or shop at the Tri-Cities Area Habitat ReStore!

Location: 408 N. Ferry St in Grand Haven
Hours: Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Phone Number: 616-846-1505

Look for their new ReStore opening in Norton Shores later this fall!

Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity is always looking for volunteers! Whether it is a group project or maybe just a couple of volunteers needed at a time, they have opportunities available and appreciate your time. If interested, please contact volunteer@ricitieshabitat.org.

Love in Action

Hometown Highlights: Love in Action

This was written by the staff at Love in Action and submitted for our Hometown Highlights feature. This story shows the power of connection and the importance of Love in Action’s mission.

It was 2 a.m. in the middle of a dark church parking lot. Light shone on a couple of women lounging in lawn chairs and chitchatting. A concerned police officer walked up to them and asked, “What are you ladies up to?”

“Just enjoying the evening, officer,” one joyfully replied.

Love in ActionWhat had begun a few months before as casual conversation with others waiting in line for a food truck had developed into friendships. Deb (name changed to protect the client) and her new friends started meeting earlier to wait together. They shared vulnerabilities in their situations and connected over history, loss and hardship. While grieving the loss of her son, Deb found a safe place with friends. These friends walked alongside her during good times and hard times. They even came together over the holidays.

“For the first time in a long time, I felt safe and not judged,” Deb recalled.

One of her friends at the food truck suggested Deb join Financial Fitness, a Love in Action program designed to empower participants with skills to work toward financial stability. With the support she received in class, Deb was able to pay off her son’s funeral expense; she made the goal to become debt-free; and she now has money in savings.

She began to thrive because she had tangible resources partnered with emotional support and practical solutions.

Deb’s story reflects the beautiful power of connection. It shows what happens when we find those people who make us feel safe and not judged. We begin to experience community that opens doors and provides support.

Love in Action combines the generous donations of our community to provide for local neighbors who face challenging situations. Love in  action provided 316,000 meals, over 10,000 nights of shelter and hundreds of health care offerings to our neighbors in need. What’s more, as a community, we cultivate the opportunity to safely share the vulnerability of our situations, connect, and build friendships. We nurture a culture of us.

Hannah

Second 2022 Service Scholarship Winner Announced

In conjunction with our #MMGivesBack and Service Rewards programs, we’ve launched the Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship in hopes of recognizing High School Seniors with dreams of pursuing a career in service.

Careers Include:

  • Military
  • Teachers & Educators
  • Government & Politics
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • First Responders
  • Doctors & Nurses

We received dozens of applicants and examined each one closely. We learned about their goals and aspirations, the community service they completed and impacts they made in West Michigan and how they plan to give back to those that need it most.

We assembled a Scholarship Committee to select our 2022 winners. Two West Michigan graduates will receive $1,000 to further their education.

HannahAfter much consideration, Michigan Mortgage is pleased to announce Hannah DeVrou, a 2022 Allendale High School Graduate, as a winner of this year’s Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship.

She said the following in her application.

“To me, service is giving to another without them needing to request it. Helping someone in any way you can think of. Service could be as simple as cutting a neighbor’s grass or being there for a friend through a hard season. Service is the most genuine way to show someone that you love them. Service is giving your time to someone else instead of using it on yourself. Service is the most fulfilling way to assist another.”

“I hope to impact our local community in the future by committing wholeheartedly to my career path. By choosing nursing as a major and future career, I am choosing to serve our local community every day I walk into my workplace. Nurses and other Healthcare workers are willing to risk their lives daily by putting themselves in harm’s way to be of service to their community, and I strive for that in my own life. I also plan to volunteer within my community as I do now, making a positive impact on every person I interact with. I plan to serve with the youth of my local church for years to come, mentoring and being a positive influence on young minds.”

Hannah plans to attend the Davenport University and major in Nursing.

“My career goal is to be a Registered Nurse working in a post-operative, pediatric care center,” she said. “I’ve got my hopes set on Helen Devos!”

“This scholarship will impact my studies by helping me save for and afford the schooling to achieve this goal! I am so excited to have been gifted this scholarship and am delighted to use the funding to give back to my community.”

Congratulations, Hannah! You are so deserving of this recognition.

MSHDA

Do you need help making your monthly mortgage payments?

If you are struggling to make your monthly payments – mortgage, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, internet and more – due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has a program to help.

According to MSHDA, “The Homeowner Assistance Fund was established under section 3206 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the ARP) to mitigate hardships associated with the coronavirus pandemic by providing funds to prevent homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosure, loss of utilities or home energy services and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship on or after January 21, 2020 or for those homeowners who experience a coronavirus pandemic financial hardship that began before January 21, 2020 but continued after that date.

MSHDAThe U.S. Department of the Treasury notified MSHDA on April 14, 2021, that it will allocate $242,812,277 to the State of Michigan. This number was based on unemployed individuals and the number of mortgagors with delinquent mortgage payments.”

MSHDA opened the program to the public on February 14, 2022.

Who is eligible?

  • Homeowners with household incomes less than 150% of Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Homeowners who own and occupy the property as their primary residence
  • Homeowners must have and explain a financial hardship directly related to COVID-19 on or after January 21, 2020.

Up to $25,000 Grant Per Household to Pay:

  • Delinquent mortgage/housing expenses, including property tax and insurance escrow shortages
  • Delinquent land contract payments, mobile home consumer loan payments or mobile home park lot payments
  • Delinquent property taxes
  • Delinquent condominium/homeowners’ association fees
  • Delinquent homeowner’s insurance,
  • Delinquent utilities, gas, electric, water, sewer
  • Delinquent internet broadband services

For more information and to apply, click here. Due to backlog, it may take 6 – 8 weeks to review your application. If you have questions about the program, please call Customer Service 844-756-4423 or email MSHDA-HO-HAF-Program@michigan.gov.

Eryn

First 2022 Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship Winner Announced

In conjunction with our #MMGivesBack and Service Rewards programs, we’ve launched the Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship in hopes of recognizing High School Seniors with dreams of pursuing a career in service.

Careers Include:

  • Military
  • Teachers & Educators
  • Government & Politics
  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • First Responders
  • Doctors & Nurses

We received dozens of applicants and examined each one closely. We learned about their goals and aspirations, the community service they completed and impacts they made in West Michigan and how they plan to give back to those that need it most.

We assembled a Scholarship Committee to select our 2022 winners. Two West Michigan graduates will receive $1,000 to further their education.

ErynAfter much consideration, Michigan Mortgage is pleased to announce Eryn Bouwhuis, a 2022 Spring Lake High School Graduate, as a winner of this year’s Michigan Mortgage Service Scholarship.

She said the following in her application.

“The word ‘service’ brings two other words to my mind which are: selflessness and sacrifice. The first word, selflessness, goes with the idea that in order to perform service you have to put other people’s needs first before yours. Service is the act of putting others in front of yourself. The second word, sacrifice, goes with the idea that service is the act of giving up one’s comfort for the benefit and needs of someone else. Service is done without any complaints, and it is done for the welfare of others. Service brings joy and happiness to others. I believe that service can truly change the lives of others, both the giver and the receiver. Even the smallest acts of service can go a long way. I believe that it is your duty to perform many acts of service throughout your whole lifetime.”

“I hope to work at a local hospital or somewhere close in order to give back to my local community of West Michigan. I believe that working as a nurse will serve as a way to give back to those in need. Another way I hope to impact our local community is by continuing to volunteer at local food pantries, food trucks, and blood drives. I have participated in some volunteer activities through my years on student council that I hope to continue with as I get older.”

Eryn plans to attend the University of South Carolina and major in Nursing. She may further my education by becoming a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant.

“This scholarship will help alleviate some stress that comes with paying for college,” she said. With less stress, I will be able to concentrate fully on my studies.”

Congratulations, Eryn! You are so deserving of this recognition.

Success Story

Success Story: Casey & Kyle Patterson

The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on all of us, Lenders and Real Estate Agents included. We stopped meeting with clients in person and relied on technology to get the job done.

West Michigan Real Estate Agent Casey Patterson called it “crazy, hysterical…comical, even?”

Success Story“I never would have thought, we as Realtors, would actually be able to collect unemployment and told to stay home,” he said. “There was a time when agents weren’t really allowed in homes during the early phases of COVID meaning, no showings or in-person viewings. I had multiple clients who were contemplating making offers on homes, when we COULD NOT go and see them in person. For me to recommend someone to purchase a home based on some MLS photos and cheesy marketing, is totally asinine.”

It wasn’t easy, but we worked through it, made changes, and focused on customer service to get the job done.

Casey and his partner Kyle saw that first-hand when they purchased a home at the tail end of the pandemic. Michigan Mortgage was their lender of choice.

“I’ve been working as a licensed Real Estate Agent in West Michigan for over five years now,” Casey said. “During my first couple of years in the business, I continuously worked with Lenders and banks, and it was almost always a different person or company, and nobody stood out or made a true impression on me. Eventually I came across Amy Hendrickson’s name on an offer I received for a listing with a client that she was representing the lender side. During the next few weeks, I was amazed at the speed of Amy’s team with, not only getting a loan closed far before it was expected to, but for her team’s reaction time with incoming problems or concerns, constant availability, even for the smallest and most redundant of questions.”

“We have used Michigan Mortgage for multiple of our personal home loans and I have yet to be frustrated or concerned at the level of help and support I receive from Michigan Mortgage,” he continued.

“We just purchased our dream home a few months ago, Michigan Mortgage exceeded our expectations on all ends of helping us sell our last home and placing us in the perfect position to buy our new home. I refer all of my new clients to Amy’s team, so I know they get the same level of support that we did.”

“I am very glad there are still lenders that are homey, warm, and actually care. I have done far too many deals with lenders will hardly answer a phone call.”

Now that Casey and Kyle are settled, they look forward to sitting outside on warm summer days and watching airplanes come and go from their backyard.

Thank you for putting your trust in us, Casey! We love working with you and Kyle.

Bluebird Cancer Retreats

Hometown Highlights: Bluebird Cancer Retreats

“You have cancer.”

These three little words will turn the lives of you and your family upside down.

Bluebird HennaMore than 56,000 Michiganders are estimated to be diagnosed with cancer per year. A single diagnosis impacts every aspect of someone’s life, financially and emotionally, effecting not just the patient but everyone around them.

“We are proud to be a part of the solution at Bluebird Cancer Retreats. Our mission is simple: to enhance the lives of those around us experiencing cancer.”

Bluebird was started over 20 years ago by a man named Bill Timm with a cancer diagnosis. His diagnosis led to hope, and hope led to a dream – a dream of sharing inspiration and support with West Michigan. Together with Pete Thuene, Bills dream turned reality.

Today Bluebird Cancer Retreats serves hundreds of participants every year, by utilizing thousands of volunteer hours. Bluebird partners with Bucs Pride, Kathys Krew, Bras for a Cause and many other generous individual donors and business’ throughout Michigan.

“We continue to expand our programming to include community cares baskets for the recently diagnosed, lift of love reclining lift chairs, family camp retreats and the holiday happiness project bringing joy during the holiday season. Not to mention our weekend healing retreats for adults.”

Bluebird will continue to be safe haven and outreach for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers,
and their families for years to come.

“We look to the future to bring our mission to more individuals experiencing cancer, expanding our technology systems, and building a network of virtual support and wellness.”

For more information on how you can be involved or donate please visit our website.

Success Story: Genelle & Kurt

Genelle and KurtTiming is everything.

Genelle and Kurt knew that firsthand when they purchased their new home a few months ago.

They reached out to Hayley and her team at Michigan Mortgage to get the home-buying process started.

“We had a great experience,” Genelle said. “I think the timing was perfect as far as pricing of our new home. We missed the big increase in values and the increase costs of lumber, too.”

According to Genelle and Kurt, our Holland team exceeded all expectations.

“I liked how quickly they followed up with us,” Genelle said. “They never made us feel rushed and always answered any questions we had.”

“I’m glad we had the opportunity to work together,” she said. “Everything went really well!”

Genelle and Kurt celebrated their first Christmas in their new home with their beautiful grandchildren. It was a magical day!

They are looking forward to completing a few landscaping projects this spring.

Thank you for trusting us to guide you home, Genelle and Kurt! We enjoyed working with you.

Success Story: Alex & Mista

When you buy a new home, you experience a whirlwind of emotions. When you buy a home during a national pandemic and an incredibly competitive market, that whirlwind becomes a roller coaster ride you can’t wait to get off of.

Alex and Mista know that firsthand.

Alex & Mista“We were so excited to start looking for homes,” Mista said. “I have always loved looking inside houses and envisioning the potential each home has or what I would do to make it my own!”

“Since we bought during a difficult market, I honestly didn’t expect the process to be as hard at first. We had a couple of homes we put offers on that got outbid. I didn’t expect the roller coaster of emotions that came with it. But once we found “the one” everything kept getting better and went so smoothly!”

Amy Hendrickson and her team at our Holland office exceeded all expectations.

“I heard about Michigan Mortgage from my Realtor, Aubree DeVisser,” Mista said. “I am a small business owner myself so loved the idea of going with someone who was local! Now I recommend Michigan Mortgage to anyone I know looking to buy.”

“When we put an offer in on our house, we were in the top five,” she said. “But what made our offer stick out even more, was the fact that we were using Amy with Michigan Mortgage.”

“The listing agent worked with Amy and her team in the past and knew that the transaction would go smoothly if they accepted our offer, because we were using Amy as our lender. So not only did Amy and her team help all of this go smoothly by great communication with not only us, both realtors, and our insurance agent, but she clearly has been great to work with by so many and has made an impact on not only her clients, but the other people in the field as well.”

Alex and Mista had nothing but great things to say about Amy and her team. Their positive feedback means so much to our team!

“Amy and her team were all very helpful,” she said. “I loved how they would send us what our monthly payment would be based on the house, area and our down payment. They really helped us decide what we could afford to put down and feel comfortable with.”

“They had great communication and were quick to respond. Which is important when there are deadlines and houses come and go as fast as they do.”

Alex and Mista are so excited to make their new home their own. They’ve started renovating and decorating and can’t wait to do more!

We can’t thank you enough for trusting Michigan Mortgage to guide you home.

Hometown Highlights: Wildflower Yoga Studio

“Yoga builds community and helps form a feeling of togetherness, which we need more than ever in these crazy times of isolation. I want people to be able to make friends here: to create, laugh, and have fun in a happy and uplifting environment,” said Owner and Founder, Sandi Boonenberg.

Wildflower Yoga was born when a void was created in downtown Grand Haven.

When the top floor of the Forum building that housed a yoga studio became available, Sandi and her mom Karen soon realized that our community needed a yoga studio and had a strong urge to save the sacred space and make it even better!

Sandi and her then fiancé devoted the next three months to renovating the space down to the studs and floorboards. To say that blood, sweat, and tears went into the renovation would be an understatement. Friends came in to help paint, lay floorboards and lend helping hands…Sandi picked up a sledgehammer for the first time in her life and got to work.

As word got out that a new, calming studio space was being developed, students and teachers alike began reaching out with excitement. Sandi envisioned a serene, calm space for yoga but her dream was to incorporate a workshop into the renovation as well. The workshop now serves as a space where creatives can share a special skill, host a book club, jewelry making, a bridal shower.

It is a beautiful light filled space that blends a boho chic vibe with an old loft style charm!

Classes

Wildflower currently offers 15 classes per week ranging from three different levels of difficulty, from restorative to sweaty vinyasa flow. There are themed events happening frequently as well, such as meditation and breathing workshops. The Wildflower website has updated classes and events.

Sandi invites anyone who is looking for good vibes, meditation, positive energy, and a love for yoga to give them a try.