Detroit neighborhood leader honored for commitment to community development

Thomas Goddeeris receives Duvernay Award, the top honor at Building Michigan Communities Conference

Apr 29, 2014, 14:00 ET from Michigan State Housing Development Authority

LANSING, Mich., April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thomas Goddeeris, executive director of Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. in Detroit, today was announced as the winner of the 2014 Duvernay Award, the top honor bestowed at the annual Building Michigan Communities Conference.

Goddeeris received the award during a luncheon ceremony at which 10 other housing advocates from throughout the state were also honored. The annual Building Michigan Communities Conference, which began Monday and concludes Wednesday at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing, is now in its 16th year. It brings together people and organizations involved in creating or preserving affordable housing, serving the homeless and revitalizing neighborhoods and downtowns.

The Duvernay Award is named after the late Terrence R. Duvernay, a pioneer in affordable housing who served as executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The award goes to a person who reflects the ideals and personal qualities exhibited by Duvernay.

Goddeeris said he wasn't personally acquainted with the award's namesake, but he does know many of the past award winners.

"To be included in that group is a great honor," Goddeeris said. "I'm just very humbled by it. It's meaningful to me because it shows a certain amount of recognition for what I've done in the past two decades."

Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. is a community development organization that aims to preserve and improve a 2¼-square-mile area that encompasses five neighborhoods in northwest Detroit.

The Grandmont Rosedale area, known for its tree-lined streets and well-kept homes, is widely hailed as one of Detroit's strongest communities.

"We think that our efforts at stabilization and revitalization have been successful in helping us hold our own even during the Great Recession," Goddeeris said. "I think our neighborhood has a promising future as a stable, vibrant area for single-family residences."

Goddeeris has served as Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp.'s executive director since 1991. At the time, the organization focused primarily on purchasing houses and then renovating and selling them. It has since broadened its mission so that it now also participates in home repair assistance, commercial revitalization, parks beautification, streetscape improvements and safety programs.

Also receiving awards today were:

  • Neeta Delaney, former director of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force: Community Economic Advocate of the Year
  • Metro Community Development, which generates economic investment in Flint and Genesee County: Community Economic Development Leader of the Year
  • H.O.M.E. of Mackinac County, a St. Ignace housing counseling agency: Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps Host Site of the Year and 2014 Housing Counseling Agency of the Year
  • Salli Christenson, policy coordinator for Arc Michigan's Leaders in Policy Advocacy project: The Corrie Bair Building Inclusive Communities Award
  • Barbara Taylor, a retired nurse who is now a tenant of Village of Hillside in Harbor Springs: Julie Sandorf Award
  • Brian J. Hofstra, vice president-commercial lending at Founders Bank & Trust in Grand Rapids: Community Spirit Award
  • Habitat for Humanity of Kent County: 2014 Affiliate of the Year
  • Christie Harry, assistant executive director for housing services for Eaton County: Housing Counseling Counselor of the Year – Western Territory
  • Kathy Williams, counselor and program manager at Oakland County Housing Counseling: Housing Counseling Counselor of the Year – Eastern Territory
  • Katrina Maddox, housing counselor at the Center for Financial Health in Lansing: Housing Counseling Counselor of the Year

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs.

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SOURCE Michigan State Housing Development Authority