By NOUHAD ALAME, Staff Writer
For the first time in 26 years, Habitat for Humanity will reach outside of Detroit and into East Dearborn, where homes will be built for twelve lucky families whose dream to have a home will finally become reality. The city of Dearborn and ACCESS have partnered with Habitat in collaboration to make the completion of this project a wonderful success with the helping hand of a community of volunteers.
Today, Access is the largest Arab American human services and nonprofit organization in the United States. With more than 100 programs serving metro Detroit in 8 locations, ACCESS has extended its help in attempt to make this project reality. Vincent Tilford, an executive director of Habitat says, “We’re excited to be partnering with Dearborn,” with homes being built on a vacant 60-foot lots the city purchased with federal dollars it received through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and Wayne County’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) was established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment due to financial struggles and through repurchasing some of these properties, its service in the light of this project has been greatly acknowledged and supported.
Barry Murray, an economic and community development director for Dearborn says that, “the city is very enthusiastic about building houses on the vacant lots we own.” The sites include the west side of Neckel south of Gould Street; the northwest corner of Neckel and Diversey streets; and the west side of Maple Street, north of Diversey. Habitat for Humanity plans to complete the remaining set of six houses on Hartwell Street, which is north of Michigan Avenue and west of Oakman Boulevard-an area of Dearborn which is known for its noon rushes and lively atmosphere.
According to Habitat for Humanity, these homes are intended for military veterans and survivors of domestic abuse, who make at least $10.60 an hour or $22,000 a year to qualify. While many have expressed an interest to volunteer, Tilford points out that groundbreaking won’t begin until at least May. Volunteers must sign up at habitatdetroit.org, and it is suggested that those interested in volunteering create an account and register for specific times on the Habitat Detroit calendar. An estimated 10 to 15 volunteers are needed per day Tuesdays through Saturdays, with approximately 90-110 days given to complete the construction of one home (habitatdetroit.org).
In addition to helping the dreams of these individuals come true, Habitat has gone above and beyond to guarantee that these families will not just be home owners, but some of the most successful homeowners. Chosen families must participate in workshops with topics including financial literacy and basic house repairs. Considering that Habitat for Humanity holds the mortgage, it is quite a fair deal for these 1,232 square feet ranch-style houses.
What’s more is that all tools and training will be provided and volunteers are welcomed as long as they are least 14 years of age, and at least 16 to help with construction. Habitat mentions that, “experience in home remodeling or construction is a plus, but we will work with anyone who wants to volunteer their time.” For those who are searching for this sort of hands-on- experience and training, this is an excellent opportunity! Prescreening applications are being handled by ACCESS. Forms are available at its Youth & Family Service Center, 2651 Saulino Court, and its One-Stop Employment & Human Services Center, 6451 Schaefer.
Contact Nawal Jabbar at 1-313-842-7729 or njabbar@accesscommunityorg, or Nadine Makki at 1-313-842-1931 or nmakki@accesscommunityorg, or for more information about the program, visit habitatdetroit.org or call 1-313-521-6691.