President Carter begins treatment for Melanoma, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Former President Jimmy Carter announced yesterday morning that he was going to begin treatment for Melanoma. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family during this difficult time.

President Jimmy Carter has been volunteering with Habitat International for over 30 years along with his wife Rosalynn. Their continuous support has directly improved thousands of lives and has made us stronger as a national organization. They have continued their work through the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. While partnering with Habitat International to help, “renovate or repair 4,000 homes in 14 countries alongside 92,000 volunteers. “ (Habitat International)

This November will be the 32nd Carter Work Project and will take place in Nepal. Please visit Habitat for Humanity International for more information. Thank you President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter for everything you have done. We wish you well in the days ahead.



Meet the Milne Family

[Blog By Gabriele Kuschmann, Family Program Coordinator]

Lilia Milne is close to closing on her Habitat home!  She and her grandson Hunter, 5, who lives with her, are so excited to move in next month.  “I get to play in the basement and the upstairs with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!” he exclaims.  He’ll also get a nice big yard to play in, and Lilia will be able to plant the flowers she likes.  “Black-eyed Susans, daisies, lilies, hostas, trillium, and hydrangeas—I especially like hydrangeas because that’s my mother’s name,” she explains.   “I will also enjoy the front porch.”  The things that Lilia is most looking forward to about owning her home are the independence and freedom that she didn’t have where she currently lives.  “Things will be working and in good condition, and I will have the freedom to change things—like finish the basement,” she says.  She is also happy to have an asset that she will be able to pass down to her children.


Lilia talks to me about her construction sweat equity hours, which she’s almost done with.  “It was hard work when I was at the houses—especially that hot day organizing a garage full of tools with Paul!”  Among other things she also painted trim and learned how to use a drill to drive screws.  “The construction area was very nice.  It was easier that I thought it would be.  I’m not scared anymore.  Now I can help with the finishing of my basement when I decide to do that project!”  Lilia was able to do many of her hours at the Habitat ReStore as well (if you’re not familiar with the ReStore, check it out at http://h4h.org/restore/. Lilia says she learned a lot and liked the experience.  She did a lot of organizing the donated items, and she painted cabinets, chairs, a blackboard, and more.  “I think I became an expert in painting.”  Because the ReStore uses Facebook to share pictures of donated items that have been “up-cycled,” or improved, the chairs and table that Lilia worked on have already been sold!  She said the variation between being at the houses and ReStore was beneficial to her because of her age and being out in the heat for long periods.

For Lilia, the ability to get a mortgage with zero interest is really a gift.  She says that she would not be able to put 20% down either, but Habitat’s $1,000 down was doable for her.  “Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley is a real organization—they really help, they really care.”

Please join us at Lilia’s Home Dedication this Sunday, August 23rd at 3:00pm at 312 Garland St., Ypsilanti, MI 48198.


A Day in the Life of a ‘Good News’ Volunteer, August 2015

[Blog by Sandy Simon, Steering Committee Chair for Good News Group]

Last Friday was a great day to work on this year’s two “Good News” Habitat for Humanity houses. It was a beautiful, breezy day with a good crew and lots of work to do outdoors under big shady trees.

We were hanging siding on both houses and siding is always SO satisfying because you really see a difference at the end of the day. Climb up and down a few ladders, wave your magic hammers and TAH DAH — the needs-a-makeover house becomes a beautiful home before your very eyes. And to make it even more fun, the future homeowner, Lola Joiner, was working on her “sweat equity” hours by painting the inside of her house while our crew was siding the outside. She could come out now and then to see her once bright blue house (covered in blueboard) turn into a beautiful house with warm gold siding. She was very happy with the color she had chosen. Lola had a huge smile on her face all day.

Our work crews were smiling also. We worked well together all morning and then took a break when the lunch volunteers called us to a table full of sandwich makings, chips, fruit, veggies, drinks and desserts. At lunch we sat in the yard to chat with house leaders Jimmy, Tom and Chuck. I had a chance to meet all of the other volunteers.

The Good News Group is an outreach ministry for 17 Washtenaw County churches. The group started as the “Methodist House” in 1997 and over the years since has added Baptist, Congregationalist, Church of the Nazarene, African Methodist Episcopal and Unitarian Universalist congregations. Every year we join together to raise the money and provide volunteers for two home renovations. This summer we are working on our 26th and 27th homes. And yes, we occasionally have theological discussions while painting.

I’ve volunteered with the Good News Group for fifteen years now, trying my hand at everything from siding to flooring to just sweeping up or sorting nails. I’m definitely in the “unskilled volunteer” category, but I’m learning! If you send me to the garage for ‘J channel’ I will come back with the right thing now. And I’ve come to think the sawzall is incredibly cool.

But my favorite part of these Good News projects comes in September at the home dedications. That’s when you really get to meet the families who will live in the homes. And that’s when you step back and see what 17 churches working together can accomplish. Maybe all I will do this summer is caulk a few windows and help hang some siding, and yet there in front of me will be two finished, energy efficient, lovingly restored homes, an improved neighborhood, a stronger community and the right to say “I helped”. That’s much cooler than a sawzall!

Sandy Simon

Steering Committee Chair

Good News Group

Connie Smith’s Experience with Habitat

[Blog Post by Shataura Clayborne, West Willow Community Development Director and Faith Relations Coordinator- Featuring Connie Smith, Home Improvement Program Home Owner]

Over the last couple of months residents of West Willow have participated in our Insulation and Exterior Home Improvement Program. Qualified applicants are all homeowners and current with their mortgage, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. The program provides residents with professionally installed insulation into their attics, rim joists and exterior walls also a pre and post energy audit along with some exterior work to beautify the home. There is a total repayment of $500 to be repaid within two years in monthly installments and participants are required to invest sweat equity in the work being done at their home. This allows hard working families the opportunity to receive necessary improvements to make their homes more comfortable, and have relieved many elderly residents from the burden of maintaining their property, all while being affordable for each homeowner. Connie Smith is one of the residents that we’ve partnered with in this program, and she wanted to share a little bit about her experience with Habitat, and what it’s meant to her. For us here at Habitat, it’s a privilege to serve homeowners like Connie and her community.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the energy saving work that was done by Habitat for Humanity.  First, my winters here have been severe. It has been so cold in my bedroom that I have had to sleep on the couch in the living room the last two winters. My first two summers were scalding hot since I do not have an air conditioner yet. Now I know my winter this year will be comfortable and affordable.  I received insulation in my attic, my wall and my crawl space. What a blessing. Each time the inspector came out to test my efficiency it got better and better. Even though we have had very warm days this summer up to 90 degrees upon at least one occasion – and keep in mind I still do not have air conditioning – my house feels like it is air conditioned with just one fan going on. 

This Saturday I received another blessing from Habitat for Humanity. Beautiful flowers were planted in my yard. Weeds were pulled up and beautiful dark brown mulch was put in all four of my flower beds. My yard does not look the same. It is a pleasure to go out and water it each day. Once again thank you Habitat for Humanity and Shataura Clayborne for making this a community to be proud of.”

Connie J. Smith

West Willow Resident