Keith Crowell, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan, learned of the campaign and asked how the HBA could help. Ken Klok, who has been instrumental in dozens of other community projects, and Bernie Mein, both experienced builders, stepped forward to be the project managers on the build. Crowell, Klok, and Mein connected with colleagues at the 2016 International Builders Show. Ultimately, they enlisted the help of many of the nearly 400 members living in the seven-county region, who donated nearly half of the materials and labor for the first cottage, which was expected to cost $1.5 million.

“We were looking for a community project that would have the largest impact on the greatest number of people. We knew this had the capacity to impact the lives of thousands of people over the years to come,” said Crowell.

Klok and Mein echoed similar sentiments as they shared their motivation for donating so much of their time to this build. They felt the Kalamazoo community had given them so much over their careers, and they wanted to give back.

“This project has been so fun. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s so worthwhile when you’re partnering with this many people to make it happen,” said Mein.

“Some of the most gratifying comments we’ve heard are from hospital workers who currently don’t have a place close by to send family members. Many end up sleeping in waiting rooms and anywhere else they can stretch out. Now they’ll be able to offer a free and welcoming option right across the street,” shared Crowell.