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Community Homeworks Names New Executive Director Chris Praedel


KALAMAZOO, Michigan—Community Homeworks announces Kalamazoo native and Kalamazoo City Commissioner, Chris Praedel, has been named executive director of an area nonprofit devoted to empowering local homeowners to remain in their homes.

Praedel was elected to serve his first term on the Kalamazoo City Commission in November 2019. He previously served for nearly seven years managing alumni and donor events at Western Michigan University’s Office of University Advancement, which is the alumni and donor arm. His appointment to Community Homeworks formally began on Monday, July 13.

A life resident of Kalamazoo, Praedel studied management at Western Michigan University and earned an advanced degree in teaching from Dominican University. He brings a significant amount of nonprofit experience in fund development, board development and organizational operations.

He replaces, Jason Byler, who served as interim-executive director since late 2019. Byler remains on the team as the Education Manager. Praedel will serve as only the third person to lead the organization in its ten years.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring Mr. Praedel into the role of the executive director,” Sam Field, board president of Community Homeworks, said in a prepared statement. “We had a highly competitive pool of candidates and the choice was not an easy one.  We are confident that Mr. Praedel is well equipped to take Community Homeworks to the next level on its growth trajectory.”

Field and the board conducted an executive search in May and June to fill the position.

Chris Praedel

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Community Homeworks during this juncture in its history. The organization is well positioned to build on the tremendous momentum of the past ten years. I look forward to being a part of the effort to take the organization to the next level with our team, making a positive difference in the lives of area residents who struggle to remain in their homes,” Praedel said.

Community Homeworks is a nonprofit organization based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Its mission is to empower area neighbors to maintain safe, sustainable, and dignified homes. In addition to homeowner education, the organization offers a Critical Home Repair program for income qualified homeowners in Kalamazoo County.

The organization is located at 810 Bryant St. in Kalamazoo and has been serving the area’s vulnerable housing owners since 2009.  To learn more about the organization, visit CommunityHomeworks.org.

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Vote for Community Homeworks

To our friends and supporters,

We are honored and excited to announce that Community Homeworks has been chosen to participate in a special charitable giving campaign, sponsored and funded by Target. And you have the chance to help direct a portion of Target’s donation to us!

Now through September 30, 2020, vote for us through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divvied up. Find out more about Target Circle here: www.target.com/circle

We’re asking our supporters to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity. Every vote counts to help us receive a portion of the available Target funds as we continue our mission to empower our neighbors to maintain safe, sustainable, and dignified homes.

Don’t forget, as you earn more votes, you can keep voting multiple times during the campaign! Thank you for your support, and we encourage you to share your support for us (and your thanks to Target) on social media throughout the duration of the voting!

Status on Resuming Business

We at Community Homeworks wish we could open our doors and serve all in person as before. We miss that interaction. However, for safety reasons, we have decided not to open our office to the general public at this time. We are cautiously getting back to business to serve our community to the best of our ability during these challenging times.

Last year was particularly busy with a new partnership to provide home repairs for a project in the Northside neighborhood. That substantial effort and some delays in federal funding lead to a waiting list that kept growing. Eventually, we had to cap it off.

Now, because we still have that backlog of requests for services, we are not accepting any more new applications, most likely for the rest of this year.

Our current focus is to contact everyone who has been waiting (in order of request) and determine how best to move forward in updating paperwork and scheduling repairs.

Our Safety Measures

Rest assured, we have safety measures in place to protect our employees and those we serve. We have made sure that our subcontractors are practicing safely and that homeowners are comfortable with having work done in their homes. You can read our COVID-19 Response here.


We are only partially staffed in-office and are doing our best to return phone calls, process mail, and maintain contact with our clients and subcontractors.

We have installed a secure mail box beside our front door so you can drop off your copayments and documents. You can also mail your copayments and mail, email, or fax, your updated documents.

Education Program

We miss seeing our workshop participants. Our education coordinator has been trying to stay in touch via phone calls, emails, and texts.

She encourages you to email or text your repair questions to her. We can pass them along to our instructors who have said that they are willing to provide answers. You can also send a message via our website Contact page.

While we don’t have any workshops currently scheduled, we are exploring ways to bring them back safely.

How to Support our Community

Families in our community need your help. More than ever this year, they will be economically challenged.

Our backlog of requests demonstrates the demand for our services. At Community Homeworks, we strive to help relieve housing cost burden through affordable home repairs that affect health and safety.

We still need your financial support to continue to try and meet the demand and to take the additional precautions to do so safely. Please click the button to donate now.

COVID-19 Response

Community Homeworks has a “COVID-19 Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan for Office and Field Work”.

The purpose of this plan is to outline the steps that Community Homeworks intends to follow in order to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for employees and program participants. This plan describes how to prevent worker exposure to coronavirus, protective measures to be taken on the job site, personal protective equipment and work practice controls to be used, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and what to do if a worker becomes sick.

This Plan is based on currently available information from the CDC and OSHA, and is subject to change based on further information provided by the CDC, OSHA, and other public officials. Community Homeworks may also amend this Plan based on operational needs.  

To learn more about our safety practices, you can read the full 15 page plan here.

Public Notice

Public Notice

Community Homeworks is seeking licensed and insured electricians, plumbers, HVAC, and general subcontractors who are interested in contract work in bidding on home rehabilitation and repair projects for up to 80 homes during the 2020 calendar year.

Interested companies should contact the organization to be vetted and placed on our Approved Contractors list.
Approved Contractors MUST also attend a one hour Pre-Construction Training to be eligible to receive contracts.

Please inquire at:

Community Homeworks
ATTN: Brett Huckabee
810 Bryant Street
Kalamazoo, Ml 49001
(269) 998-3275

Submissions will be accepted through 03/20/2020.

Community Homeworks is a HUD Sec 3, Equal Opportunity Organization. Minority owned and small businesses are encouraged to submit.

Furnace “No Heat” Questions

Furnace not working? Use this check-list to see if you can resolve the issue before calling a service provider.

A little sluething on your part could save you an expensive service call.

  • Check the filter. When was it last changed? Is it dirty or damaged? If so, replace it.
  • Check the thermostat settings: make sure the setting is for heat and the temperature setting is above the current room temperature.
  • Check the thermostat batteries: replace if the display is blank or the low battery indicator is lit.
  • On the front of the furnace, is there an indicator light? Is it blinking or solid? The blinking pattern is an error code. What is the pattern (count the number of short and long blinks)? Note this code. (You can try to look up the meaning of the code on the internet.)
  • Is the furnace switched on? Check the switch on the side of the unit.
  • Is the gas supply turned on for the home and to the furnace?
  • Is electrical service working for the home and the furnace? Check the electrical breakers if no power at the furnace.
  • If all the electricals appear to be OK, check the fuse at the furnace to see if it is burnt out.
  • Outside your home, check vent ducts for blockage or ice build up and clear any obstruction.

Our Workshops in the News

One of our education program workshops was recently visited by reporter Mark Wedel of Second Wave – Southwest Michigan. He saw first hand how workshops provide opportunities to practice new skills.

In his interview of our Education Manager Jason Byler, he also captured the essence of how empowering our education program is. Our thanks to Mr. Wedel for spotlighting our good work and some of our participants. Click here to read the great story!

A Video Feature

Thanks to Public Media Network for this video feature. 

Check out this community spotlight, and hear about what we do.

Three Ways to Share Our News

Would you be an ambassador and help us get the word out?

Here are three ways that we are promoting this giving season.

Please choose one, and we will provide the supplies.

So that we can provide the promotional materials you choose, call our office at 269-998-3275, or email Todd at tholm@communityhomeworks.org.

Thank you for being an ambassador of Community Homeworks!

We appreciate your support. This offer is good through December 20, 2017.


Yard sign: Place in your front yard or in front of your business. We will drop off and pick up.

Tabletop Brochure: This handy display will hold brochures that your customers can take with them.

Poster: Do you have a bulletin board at work? Your place of business? Here is a poster for you.

You can download the poster here.

For the yard sign, please note: per city ordinance, such signage “shall not be placed in and shall not project into the public right-of-way”.


Shop AmazonSmile – They Donate to CHW

Holiday shopping is easy with Amazon’s Holiday Gift Guides. Shop at smile.amazon.com, and Amazon donates to Community Homeworks. Find great gifts for everyone on your list!

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Community Homeworks every time you shop, at no cost to you. You’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Community Homeworks.

You shop. Amazon gives.