Construction Story

Next Step’s construction department is restoring more than houses; we are restoring neighborhoods and the lives of our employees. 811 Fairmount SE is a great example of how we do this.


Over 100 years old, this house was converted into four apartments before being left vacant for five years. In an effort to revitalize local neighborhoods, The City of Grand Rapids designated this home as part of its Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) since it was close to local schools, parks and businesses.

As a NSP Development Partner, Next Step purchased this vacant house from the city and put 10 people to work rehabilitating it. Next Step’s licensed builders supervised employees as they converted this multi-family house into its original single-family structure. For months, they performed deconstruction, replaced rotting wood, refinished hardwood floors, upgraded windows, painted walls and installed new fixtures to create an energy-efficient home full of original character.


The surprise is that Next Step’s construction team is comprised of people coming out of jail or rehab who couldn’t find a job. They may not have had extensive construction knowledge, but they developed these skills and gained confidence in themselves as they learned new things under the supervision of licensed builders. This gave employees the opportunity to earn a paycheck, develop a strong work ethic and gain the confidence they needed to be more employable in future. Our supervisors gave employees hope when no one else would, an essential step in life restoration.


The family purchasing this home felt God’s calling to move from the suburbs to downtown Grand Rapids, in the East Hills neighborhood. Homeowner Bethany said, “We knew there were a lot of builders rehabbing homes in the area, but the workmanship didn’t compare to Next Step’s. We were so excited at the opportunity to buy a Next Step house.”

As they prepare to move into their house, their two boys are thrilled to have their own rooms. The family is excited to engage in their neighborhood and help launch a church in their community. It’s amazing to see how a family living in a once vacant house can be a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization.

More construciton stories :

811 Fairmont

1106 Watkins


Kent County Land Bank

Copyright 2013. Next Step West Michigan.