Adisa Chaney is the Senior Director of Community Engagement and Equity for Housing Kent. An experienced community organizer, facilitator, and thought partner, Adisa has worked extensively with politically and economically marginalized communities to build capacity and support residents’ efforts to effect change in their communities. He currently teaches at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University Schools of Social Work, principally focusing on courses involving community engagement, grant-writing, and social work in and with communities of color. His work in recent years has included development and administration of several community projects in the metro Detroit area, as well as being responsible for the training and evaluation of community facilitators for foundation initiative. The initiative is a collaborative partnership with an area school district, focused on improving educational outcomes of K-12 youth in economically disadvantaged communities in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Tiana Hawver is the Communications Manager for Housing Kent. Tiana has over 15 years in marketing, public relations, and communications, including 10 in marketing and media. Prior to joining Housing Kent, she served as the Office Coordinator for the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University for five years. Tiana is a gifted speaker and writer, and produced a documentary, “Reconnecting the Dots,” sharing her journey as an adult adoptee reconnecting with her birth family. Tiana has a Master of Science in Communication from Grand Valley State University.
Eureka People has answered the call to lead as President of Housing Kent’s efforts to dissolve homelessness, increase affordable housing, and eliminate the shocking racial disparities in the housing system in Kent County. Prior to accepting this position, Eureka spent 10 years as Principal Consultant of her own strategy and facilitation consultancy specializing in systems change for nonprofits, foundations, and government. In this capacity, she developed strategies for a foundation initiative, facilitated the design of a school district’s nationally recognized attendance campaign and strategic plan, facilitated a nonprofit’s community development project, and facilitated another nonprofit’s board of trustees leadership experience program, among other projects. She then guided the Housing Stability Alliance network to the building of a roadmap to address housing inequities and racial disparities. It was this that led to her being asked to apply to lead further housing efforts here in Kent County.
Eureka’s career before extensive consulting in Kent County included several years as VP of Finance and Operations for the National Community Development Institute in Oakland, California. She also served three years as Associate Pastor of Assimilation and Discipleship at Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Before being drawn to humanitarian and nonprofit work, with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Eureka worked as a Project Engineer for Eli Lilly & Company in Indiana.
Eureka has recently moved to Grand Rapids and looks forward to getting to know her new home and to leading our community to greater awareness of and motivation to addressing and healing one of our most pervasive and limiting societal problems.
Eureka holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, M.A. in Theology.
With the release of the community plan in August 2020, KConnect completed the work that it had committed to accomplishing when agreeing to take on the project in 2018. The four co-chairs of the Housing Stability Alliance – Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Chair Mandy Bolter, Lynne Ferrell, and Christina Keller – committed to moving the Alliance forward. However, without a backbone organization focused solely on advancing the movement, it lost momentum. It was apparent that it was necessary to quickly get a backbone in place in order to keep the work moving forward. After a series of discussions, KConnect agreed to partner with the Alliance co-chairs to temporarily take the lead to create a nonprofit organization that served as a backbone for the Alliance’s work.
The role of KConnect was NOT to serve as the Alliance backbone. However, we served as temporary support to launch the permanent backbone that became Housing Kent. Launched in February 2022, the new organization is its own 501c3 with its own bank account, bylaws, and five-year budget.
We delivered a common agenda and roadmap that has created and sustained a movement to build systems between sectors and empowers lived experience to dissolve housing instability and homelessness for children and families from the landscape of Kent County.
The scope and agreed-upon purpose of the last six months of work is presented to the side. Creating an equitable housing system will not happen overnight. It will decades of hard work and dedication from the entire community. However, if 2019 was any indication that the Kent County communities share a passion for this issue, we are well poised to create change.
Recognizing the disparate overrepresentation of families of color among homeless populations, our work through June 2020 will be focused on creating a community framework that will reduce the disparity in our housing efforts over the next five years.
In May 2018 concerned community stakeholders asked KConnect to bring people together to examine how the housing system is working, establish shared goals, and develop collaborative strategies to reach those goals with a focus on children, families, youth, and people of color. KConnect initiated its work in Fall 2018, KConnect began a yearlong process to convene organizations, funders, and other stakeholders within the housing and homeless system. Together we will develop a comprehensive community plan specifically calling for equitable outcomes for children and families.
This work was originally anticipated to be completed in December 2019. However, in October 2019, after careful consideration and reflection, the Board of Trustees approved a request from the Design Team for a six-month extension in order to create a more comprehensive community plan. During the final months, the teams will move into a collaborative designing phase.
The mission is to increase access to affordable housing and decrease homelessness for families, children, and youth, with an intentional focus on eliminating racial disparities in Kent County.