From 1981 to 2012, Grace Haven in Jackson, Michigan, provided families with emergency housing, helped residents become economically stable and find permanent housing. Residents received counseling, job training, and necessary life skills to succeed as well.
Unfortunately, Grace Haven closed in 2013 after the executive director, Billie Oliver, passed away. Thereafter, board members walked away and left the shelter unattended. The nonprofit eventually was placed on the city’s tax roll for not filing paperwork to maintain tax exempt status.
As her grandson, I have stepped in to save the organization from further damage. I’m working to put the organization back on track to help the community. A GoFundMe.com campaign was created to raise funds to prevent the shelter from being repossessed for back property taxes.
The Save Grace Haven campaign generated funds to save only one of the three homes. Other donations were used for reinstatement of tax exempt status. In April of 2018, the IRS granted our 501(c)3 tax exemption. Currently, I am working with the city to address water and sewer bills. Also, I have re-constituted a new board with the assistance of our attorney.
We hope to re-open Grace Haven as a community resource center with other nonprofit agencies as our tenants. The center will provide services for housing, health, job training, financial literacy, life skills, family counseling, nutrition, cooking, food assistance and even an after-school arts program. These services are crucial due to the historically low incomes in our neighborhood and a lack of available resources. In the future, we will do more to help end homelessness in South Central Michigan to honor the legacies of my grandmother Billie Oliver and Dorothy Williams, the founder of Grace Haven.
In order to meet our mission, we have unresolved business that has to be taken care of first which are the back taxes totaling $3,471. When we took over the organization, there was an unpaid water bill, several lawn mowing fees, 2016 property taxes, and interest on the county’s tax roll. Last year, we paid in full 2015 property taxes. We need to remove this barrier now so we can begin our mission providing a valuable service to the community. We are a 501c3 organization and all donations are tax deductible. The deadline to resolve this issue is April 1st 2019. Please show your support by donating and spreading the word. We would sincerely appreciate any contribution you can make to help bring Grace Haven into the twenty first century and to restore its mission as a vital resource for the community.
You can reach me at 517-416-5297 and at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and details.
Grace Haven Board President