Christian Environment is Centerpiece of Adult Foster Care Nonprofit, David’s House Ministries

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

davidshouseDavid’s House Ministries president Casey Kuperus shares a moment with resident Kerry while listening to music on her record player. Nestled in Southwest Wyoming is a seven-acre development where hope and faith dwell for those with development disabilities.

Founded in 1987 by Rev. Jay and Lois DeBoer, David's House Ministries (DHM) provides physical, spiritual, emotional and social care for 40-plus people with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries or mental illnesses.

A full life

The goal is to give them as full a life as possible, according to Casey Kuperus, president of DHM.

"What we're doing is providing care at home and support needed for folks not able to live on their own," said Kuperus. "They all have either development cognitive impairments and many have physical impairments as well. Our goal is that this is their forever home which is sometimes different for other group home models that are out there."

With five homes on its campus, with the land capacity to build more, the strategy of DHM is to transfer residents to another one of its homes should their needs change.

"The goal is, even though they may move into different homes within our property, they would not leave David's House," said Kuperus. "If there is no opening within a different home, we adjust the staff accordingly within that home which from a business model is tough. Our financial need doesn't tend to get covered when we're doing that but it's the type of benevolent care we want to give to folks."

Core values

Providing adult foster care with an intentionally Christian environment is the centerpiece of DHM's core values.

"It comes down to our belief that everybody was made in God's image and deserves to live their lives to the fullest," said Kuperus. "We are all God's image and it's our job to reflect his love."

DHM's annual operational budget is $4 million, with 60 percent of it derived from governmental authorities and the remaining 40 percent from private donations.

What the future may hold

DHM has the land capacity to build five more homes on its property. Kuperus acknowledges there is a burgeoning need for more homes, given the waiting list of people who wish to move to DHM, but it's vital the nonprofit do so only when it's financially feasible.


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"As any ministry knows, it's easy to fundraise for a project, it's harder to fundraise to sustain those operations," said Kuperus. "We want to be sure we're being very careful. Those on our waiting list want us to put up five more homes for sure.

"We have the capacity here to add some more homes, yet we're also looking at that budget and saying right now we have a need to raise $1.5 million every year for operations, how much higher can we grow?" continued Kuperus. "And the governmental revenue we receive tends to fluctuate. We are seeing some of those rates decrease from time to time. Families help out as they can. Many of our families are extremely involved and help us with our fundraising efforts. We're just coming off of our fall walkathon, which pretty much every family participates in, and raised $165,000, which is the most we've ever raised."

DHM History

The DeBoers launched DHM 32 years ago to provide a quality life for their son, David, who was born prematurely in Nov. 23, 1956 and diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Their family doctor recommended placing David in a long-term care facility. They toured a one in Coldwater and another in Battle Creek. Eventually, David lived with them until he was age 30, made possible because of volunteers from their church who helped.

Then, a ministerial friend asked the DeBoers what their plans were once their wheelchair-bound son and they themselves grew older. That snowballed into a property donation that was made by the now-deceased Dan Vos of Dan Vos Construction at DHM's Wyoming location.

House No. 1 was opened in June 1987 with 10 residents, including their son, David.

Today, there are a total of five adult foster care homes with 43 male and female residents living in them and a two-story administration building at 2251 Hope Grove Ave. SW.

Many assume the Christian nonprofit is named after the DeBoers' son but it's actually in honor of King David who took in Mephibosheth (see 2 Samuel 9).

"It works out well too that their son's name is David as well," said Kuperus.

"It was a lot of hope and faith that built David's House."


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Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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