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Community Development Division

We love applying outside-of-the-box solutions to community problems. We specialize in projects that benefit the business community and strengthen the workforce, while making the region a better place to live, work, and play.

 

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.

Picasso

Tri-county Kinexus Blight Elimination ~ 2013-2014

Deconstruction cohort 1 

"This project was a creative, outside-of-the-box solution to two problems that impede Southwest Michigan's economic growth. By being innovative and partnering with various public and private entities, we doubled each dollar's impact by developing the community while developing individuals."

Kinexus Executive Director Todd Gustafson

Kinexus’ community development division recently completed a year-long project to rid Southwest Michigan of 20 blighted structures, including 15 residential and five commercial properties. Funding for the project came from an $818,000 collaborative grant from the Michigan Department of Human Services, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority, and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Rather than having all of the structures demolished by excavating contractors, Kinexus employed job seekers for whom a lack of work experience and other barriers have resulted in chronic unemployment to systematically deconstruct as many of the houses as possible. The goal of the program was not necessarily for the trainees to secure work in the construction industry, but for them to gain familiarity with the expectations of employers and practice overcoming barriers, such as lack of dependable transportation and child care. Of the 27 trainees, who were all cash assistance recipients, 18 have been able to attain and maintain employment since the project's completion.

View the project flyer.

Read the Herald-Palladium's recap article.

 

Berrien County Blight Removal ~ 2012

In 2012, Kinexus partnered with Berrien County to deconstruct a dozen blighted residential and commercial buildings. The Kinexus team provided 46 workers to systematically deconstruct buildings while learning construction skills and salvaging materials that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. The community's business and housing climate improved from the reduction of blight, and participants learned teamwork, accountability and how it feels to make the community a cleaner, safer place. Some of the salvaged materials from the abandoned houses and buildings were given to community members who are making improvements on their existing homes. Additional materials will be used for further training.

Hats off to our Berrien County Blight Removal Partners

  • United Way
  • Consortium for Community Development
  • Berrien County Land Bank
  • Berrien County Treasurer

View the story.


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    Ray Mays

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    Marie Eisbrenner

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    Bret Witkowski

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    “Our goal was to get the deconstruction done the right way; Kinexus’ eager and active team did it how it should be done from start to finish.” – Bret Witkowski, Berrien Co. Treasurer more >>

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