Habitat Homeowners Pay Off Their Mortgage After 20 Years!

[Blog by Sophia Williams, Development Associate, Special Events & Marketing]

With their 240th and final payment in May 2016, Michael and Jacqueline Wright accomplished the ‘American Dream.’

“It was a weird feeling. We’ve done it, but I don’t think it has hit us,” said Michael.

Before purchasing their home, Michael and Jacqueline rented an apartment for 17 years and a home in West Willow for 6 years. They finally moved into their Habitat home at 438 Orchard St., Ypsilanti in October of 1996.

“I’m always in a hurry to get home, whether we are at a barbecue or wherever. I’m always ready to get back,” continued Michael, “Every time I pull up in the drive I’m always looking at it. Now I’m looking at it saying, ‘I finally did it.’”

Michael works at First Presbyterian Church as the maintenance manager and is planning for retirement this year. When the Wright’s started their journey with Habitat, all five of their children were living at home. Today, the children have grown and all moved out, working as a boiler maker, bus driver, and a barber. One of the Wrights’ sons is even a homeowner himself through a conventional mortgage!

“It was an enjoyable experience all the way to the end. Some things were a struggle, but the Habitat programs helped out a lot,” said Michael.

Their furnace started leaking carbon monoxide after owning it for 20 years. Through Habitat’s Furnace Test & Tune Program, they were able to replace their furnace at an affordable cost.

“That was the top of the list, to make sure the home was taken care of,” said Jacqueline. Michael explained that they have always put their home and their other bills before luxuries.

“We try to instill that in our kids, to prioritize,” said Michael.

Their home has been a lot more than a roof over their heads.

“During the holidays, our house is exploding with people,” said Michael. They have had multiple barbecues, dinners, and two of their sons even got married at their home.

“We lined up chairs in the living room and the walls were bulging at the seams,” continued Michael. “We’ve had some good times there.”

Jacqueline said Michael can always find something to do in the yard, which is his favorite part about his home.

“Sometime I go out there and watch the birds and just listen to the music. I put in a pond, and it’s just like my own oasis. Even in the winter I’ll go out there with the dog and stand in my backyard,” said Michael.

They are now planning their next steps and have talked about going to see the Grand Canyon for their 43rd wedding anniversary later this year.

“I’m still very appreciative every time I come around the corner, I say ‘That’s my house,’” said Jaqueline.



James Krygier’s Home Dedication

[Blog by Gabriele Kuschmann, Family Program Coordinator]


Sunday, May 15, 2016 was the home dedication for James Krygier.  James’ closing is scheduled for May 31 and he couldn’t be more excited!  His new home will be 1041 Nash Avenue, located in West Willow.

Shataura Clayborne is the West Willow Community Development Coordinator for Habitat, and she spoke about how she was glad that James had come to her before he selected the house to ask about the neighborhood and what it would be like to live there.  As a former resident of the neighborhood, Shataura could talk about her experiences, as well as the new things going on, such as a weekly walking group and a cardio drumming group.  Linda Mealing was there from the New West Willow Neighborhood Association to present James with flowers and welcome him to the neighborhood.

James’ mother was there in her wheel chair, and she was lifted to the upstairs by attendees of the dedication so she could see it.  She was very proud of her son and thankful to Habitat and all the sponsors and volunteers for giving him this opportunity.  James currently lives in Chidester Place and works at the University of Michigan doing kitchen work.

James spoke about how this journey helped him learn patience, and that he’s made new friends, such as his diligent Support Partner, Kate Roos, who was there with him throughout this process.  He finished his sweat equity hours early and has done more than the requirement.  His home happened to have wood floors upstairs, which were refinished by Habitat.  They are one of his favorite parts about his house.  He loves to work with his hands and has many plans for the house, including putting in overhead beams in the living room to add texture.  He is so grateful to have had his sponsor be Lowe’s, as he is an avid shopper there already.  He is also thankful for his sisters, who have helped him get a dishwasher, and supported him throughout the whole process.

Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley welcomes James to his new home and wishes him many years of happiness in his new home!