The idea for newly-formed nonprofit Homes of Hope emerged in April when homebuilder Rich Bloem bought a vacant lot on the southeast side of Grand Rapids. Initially, he thought he’d construct a home and make a profit. A few days later, he thought otherwise.
“It’s almost as if I had a vision, maybe from God,” Bloem said. “I decided to do something totally different and not for profit.”
Through research, Bloem discovered Life Remodeled
, a Detroit-based company that builds free homes for low income families. He wanted to do something similar, but realized he couldn’t do it alone—and didn’t want to do it alone.
"I wanted to bring builders, architects, electricians, plumbers, and other professionals together to do this,” he said.
Bloem shared his vision with a few friends, including Brett Little, Executive Director of Alliance for Environmental Sustainability
. They shared Bloem’s passion and put plans in place to meet regularly. Word got out fast. There were 23 people at the first Friday meeting. Since then, the ever-expanding group meets weekly at the offices of AES (920 Cherry Street SE). Volunteers are welcome to attend and join one of over 20 committees on everything from construction to communications.
The goal of Homes of Hope has roots in community. The project aims to bring people together to help others thrive by building new homes and restoring neighborhoods, while offering hope and a blueprint for success in life’s journey.