Habitat Oakland moves forward on Pontiac, Madison Heights projects

Families are beginning to move into this
year’s Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County homes projects, and
several more are under construction in Madison Heights and Pontiac.

three new Madison Heights homes, the first for the city, came about
when the city utilized federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to raze
three houses earlier this year, and donated the land to Habitat for
Humanity. Sally LePla, Habitat for Humanity of Oakland
executive director, says one family has moved into the
first home, with walls raised on the second and work to start on the
third by the end of this week.

The organization tries to do a
one-week blitz, a flurry of building to build the shell of the house,
and the inside can then be done more slowly. “We always love to get
families in by Christmas,” she says. “Habitat’s mission is about people,
not the buildings.”

Six home renovations and five new builds
were on the docket for this year for Pontiac. Work is finishing up on
three rehabs, with a family already moved into another. The Pontiac
projects are in several different neighborhoods; each needed some TLC
and upgrades, such as energy-efficient windows and doors, LePla says.

is committed to being green, and part of being green is recycling,” she
says. “Recycling existing homes is a challenge, but is also meets our
goal of reusing materials.”

The hand-up, not hand-out model —
requiring future homeowners to work on other houses and their own, and
paying the mortgage that Habitat owns — also means that the families
are partners with Habitat for 20 or 30 years. LePla says she’d love to
work with other cities next year, but they build homes only where they
are welcome.

“It’s been exciting to see new building going on in
the neighborhood,” she says. “It creates a spirit of hope in a time when
southeast Michigan has been struggling to keep its heads above water.”

(248) 338-1843 or click here to sign up, donate, or
learn about becoming a partner homeowner.

Source: Sally LePla, executive director of
Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County

Writer: Kristin Lukowski