Michigan House Kick Off

[Blog by Carmen Gillespie, Manager of Individual Giving, Events, and Marketing]

The 2015 Michigan House kicked off their build on September 12, and we are looking forward to another year working with University of Michigan students to renovate a home for a local family in need! While all of our house sponsors are wonderful, the Michigan House is pretty extraordinary because the home renovation is funded and physically renovated by UofM students! While most students are sleeping in on Saturdays or heading off to The Big House, these students have dedicated their spare time to volunteering with Habitat – and we are so grateful!

Habitat for Humanity at the University of Michigan (HFHUM) was founded in 1996 by two students, and the group has been helping to build and renovate homes ever since! Each year, they raise funds for the home renovation in addition to coming out to volunteer every Saturday in the Fall to renovate The Michigan House. Students also volunteer throughout the winter semester to help with additional renovation projects.

The Ross School of Business Habitat Builders are the co-sponsor of the Michigan House. These students are enrolled in the Ross School of Business. This group also provides funds as well as time to sponsor the project, and they volunteer most Fridays in the Fall.

This year, the students will be renovating 1550 Jay Ave in Ypsilanti for the Cochran Family. Please visit the HFHUM’s website to learn more about them, and to see past builds: www.habitatum.org. You can also visit our Facebook to follow progress of this year’s build: www.facebook.com/michiganhouse Thank You to HFHUM and the Ross Habitat Builders for another year of partnership! You are changing lives and we are so grateful for you!

Doggie Dream House Build Off Auction!

Back for the second year and this year the dog houses are twice as nice! Take a look at these four Doggie Dream Houses built by Michigan student-athletes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley, the Habitat for Humanity at Michigan and the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Each house is built with your four-legged friend in mind including varied amenities like tiled floors, sun-decks, windows and skylights. Take a look at these puppy palaces and make your dog the envy of the block. All proceeds go to our community partners, Humane Society and Habitat for Humanity. Bid Today at – http://www.mgoblue.com/community/auctions.html

Meet the Hall Family

[Blog by Gabriele Kuschmann, Family Program Coordinator]

The front lawn of 1133 Davis is full of volunteers from Thomson Reuters, gathering to see the finished house that they’ve worked so hard on, and to congratulate the family who will soon being moving in.  It is the Home Dedication for Chevon Hall and her children, Matthew (13) and Deja (17), who will be moving into the home in a few weeks.  “The house is just the right size for my family,” says Chevon.  “My daughter will be going to a university next fall.”  Matthew enjoys sports and will surely take advantage of the yard.  The family attends church services at Bethesda Bible Church in Ypsilanti, and Chevon is an active member of the church choir. 

Chevon thinks back to when she was first offered the house, when it was in nowhere near the condition it is now.  At that time the house had undergone some demolition and was pretty bare.  There were plans to move the stairs to the second floor, which weren’t even there at the time.  “You had to be really imaginative,” says Chevon.  In fact, House Leader Dave Szurpicki noted at the dedication that this house was one of the most amazing transformations he’s seen, and the over 300 volunteers from  Thomson Reuters were an important part of making this possible.


Chevon also had to put in 100 construction hours, which is a lot of time when you’re a working single mother.  “It was hard to get the hours done, since I work and could only come on Saturdays.”  But she feels like she learned a lot.  “When you rebuild everything, you see how wonderful using your hands can be,” Chevon says.  She did all sort of things, like nailing, painting (her least favorite), helping build a shed, caulking, and demolition (her favorite!).  “I didn’t know I would like using power tools!” she says.  She also notes the two inches of blue board which cover the house underneath the siding.  “Habitat does a great job of insulating the houses,” says Chevon.  She is glad to have a house that is energy efficient and will cut down on her utility bills.

Chevon has been in the homeownership program since January, and has been to many dedications for other families. It’s finally her turn to have her own dedication and she couldn’t be happier.  “We have lived in apartments for all of my kids’ lives.  I never could have imagined becoming a home owner at all.  I am so thankful for the Habitat program and their wonderful sponsors.  Now my family will have the joy of living in a home that we own!  Habitat makes dreams come true!”

Join us for our September home dedications!

Financial Education Program Launch- Helping Even More Families

Dear Friends,

Every year we receive hundreds of applications from Washtenaw County families that are interested in buying their own home through Habitat. Last year, we sold 18 homes to low-income buyers. We are thrilled to have been able to help these 18 families, but we know more work needs to be done to support the many additional families and individuals that currently face challenges before they can become homeowners.

Today, the national homeownership rate is the lowest it’s been in 48 years – after the housing crisis, it necessarily became difficult to purchase a home and almost impossible for those with low income. We know that homeownership is the main driver of wealth for families, and is the single most effective way to help people out of poverty. We also know that there are a lot of hardworking families interested in becoming homeowners, but might not be quite ready – and we plan to do something to help. We want to help more families utilize housing as a platform to create greater opportunity in their lives.

Habitat is recruiting partners from local banks, credit unions, and other nonprofits to join us in developing a Habitat Education Program to improve people’s financial sustainability and to help more families realize the goal of homeownership, either through Habitat or the traditional market. Our goal for the Habitat Education Program is to provide financial education and counseling for 300 additional families within the next year. The program will help families with things such as reducing debt, building equity, and will offer one-on-one financial counseling.

Please help us launch this initiative with a gift to the Habitat Education Program fund today. With your help, I believe our impact will be significant – your generosity will not simply help one family, but will strengthen our entire community. Thank you for investing in Habitat!


With gratitude,

Sarah Stanton

Executive Director