HōM Flats recently created programs in its workforce developments designed to open doors to life and career advancement for residents.

Vishal Arora, who was born and raised in Zeeland, is the founder and CEO of the New York-based company. Magnus Capital Partnersa real estate investment company with nationwide workforce housing.

In fall 2019, Magnus innovated on the first phase of its first West Michigan-based workforce housing development, HōM Flats at 28 West, on the former Studio 28 movie theater site at 1401 Prairie Parkway SW in Wyoming. The development has units at different price points, including for “the missing middle” – residents whose incomes do not exceed 40%, 60% or 80% of the median income for the Kent County area, respectively, but who make too much money to qualify for Section 8 housing. The development also includes some market rate units.

All units in the first phase are complete and 96% are occupied, Arora said.

Arora

Phase two of this development innovated in 2020 and is currently on lease, Arora said. The 28 West development will have a total of 386 units upon completion.

In 2021, Magnus opened another HōM Flats development – ​​114 units at 12181 Felch St. in Holland, dubbed HōM Flats on Felch Street. Leasing is ongoing for these units, which are also a mix of market-priced and affordable units divided into income brackets similar to those at 28 West based on the Ottawa County AME.

Magnus is currently developing HōM Flats in Maynard at 526 Maynard Ave. SW in Grand Rapids, a mix of market rate and low income units slated for completion in 2023.

Rents for all HōM Flats developments “should be at the majority of prevailing labor wages, such as $15 to $25 per hour,” Arora said.

He said his goal with all HōM Flats developments is to provide a “socially responsible”, comfortable, safe and affordable community where units and common areas possess “high quality design, innovative styling and amenities. first class”.

Free shared amenities include outdoor dog parks and indoor dog wash stations, outdoor waste stations, remote workspaces, onsite resident cafes, free Wi-Fi in common areas, studios fitness center with fitness classes, game rooms, rooftop terraces, walking paths, playground, free parking, free on-site recycling, 24-hour maintenance, on-site printing and parcel delivery room.

Unit amenities include appliances including a stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and built-in microwave; central air conditioning; water and garbage services; walk-in closets; ample storage; custom kitchen cabinets and islands; luxury vinyl flooring; open floor plans; accepted animals; 24 hour maintenance; and key fob entry.

“The idea was to create a brand of high-quality workforce housing development,” Arora said. “The West Michigan workforce typically has limited housing choices, and the housing choices they have, from a rental perspective, are typically very old and without meaningful amenities. We think we’ve changed that story a bit here by offering new construction, lots of amenities and a great design package with an excellent level of service.

Each HōM Flats development also offers a Flats PASS program, with exclusive resident discounts at a select group of restaurants, retailers and service providers.

Arora then went further, creating programs to help residents hone their skills and improve their quality of life, open doors for career changes, promotions, and create a healthy work/life balance.

To that end, in February, he entered into a partnership between HōM Flats and E3 coaching studioa Grand Rapids-based company founded in 2020 by Amy Pierce-Danders to offer career and life coaching.

HōM Flats at 28 West sits on the site of the former Studio 28 movie theater in Wyoming. Courtesy of HōM Apartments

“One of the main things about HōM Flats is to embed ourselves into the community as much as possible, and part of that expansion is through those vendor relationships,” Arora said. “On some level, this relationship with E3 does that. It brings us closer to the community and the community brings us closer to us. But in more thematic terms, we see them as people who are in the workforce and who are looking for career growth – ways to move up the economic ladder, resourcing opportunities, asking questions about where they might go – these things are often hard to come by naturally and organically When you have a dedicated resource like E3 available for free for the residents… it becomes (beneficial) for their career advancement.

Pierce-Danders has over 20 years of workforce development experience and moonlights as an alumni career coach and student career counselor at Grand Valley State University. She has helped over 2,500 people determine their career direction, overcome impostor syndrome, conduct an effective job search, and build confidence in all things career and life. She designs professional toolbox documents, such as resumes, cover letters and more.

At HōM Flats, her programming will include life and career coaching for residents of all ages and life stages, including parents, children, students, entrepreneurs and retirees. She will advise those who are figuring out what they want to do with their lives alongside people who are likely to pivot during the “great reset” (an alternative term for the “great resignation”).

The planned year-long pilot program will include scheduled in-person events and workshops, virtual learning, drop-in hours for teens and young adults, by-appointment hours for adult career coaching, and appearances by “resource conservators” such as Michigan Women Forward and other economic development organizations to help residents who are entrepreneurs.

There will also be opportunities for parents and guardians to learn how they can guide the children and youth in their care, which will include resource toolkits, as well as a program called “When I will be tall” for children aged 4 to 8 and their parents to develop their creativity and discover their strengths and interests through play.

Pierce-Danders views programming across the age spectrum as essential to filling gaps in the education and personal development landscape in West Michigan.

Pierce Danders

“It helps parents and guardians understand that your child may be an outstanding candidate for one of our skilled trades that we are so short of here. Or maybe your child will grow up to be a litigator. It all depends,” she said.

E3 Coaching and HōM Flats will also offer intensive cohorts for 12 people at a time called “coaching communities”, which will involve a process of self-examination and discovery to advance participants’ careers, and will soon begin to offer workshops for students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive federal tuition assistance.

In addition to the E3 Coaching partnership, HōM Flats has also hosted organizations such as Express Employment Professionals to provide on-site job fairs to residents as part of the Flats PASS.

All events and programming are free to residents and their families.

Pierce-Danders said she has in the past, as part of her workforce development efforts, done on-site recruiting for property management companies, but she is not aware of any no other real estate development in Michigan that offers such a comprehensive suite of work/life development programs. as this new partnership allows.

“HōM Flats has gone above and beyond by investing in workforce housing initiatives and providing residents with the tools to help them escape generations of trouble,” she said.

Pierce-Danders said she plans to do a survey halfway through the pilot and at the end to ask residents questions about the results, including: ‘Has it had a positive impact on their quotient? of happiness in life, has it enabled them to get an increase in income, and has it enabled them to create a balance in their lives so that they can spend time in the buckets of their life they prefer? »

Arora added, “Our goal is for everyone to find the seats they’re meant to be in. Even if it’s just a few people, it’s a significant impact.”

More information about HōM Flats and its programming at homflats.com.