EASTPOINTE — After literally hundreds of hours of hard work throughout the spring and early summer, a 23-year-old Harrison Township woman received the keys to her new home in Eastpointe June 16.
It was Habitat for Humanity of Macomb County’s seventh home dedication in the city.
Melissa Davenport first heard about Habitat two years ago, not long after her second daughter was born, but at the time, she couldn’t apply.
“My employer was paying us under the table,” Davenport said. “It was the only job I could find at the time.”
Time passed and eventually Davenport got a new job. And after 90 days, she applied for a Habitat home.
“I applied Jan. 5 and a week later, they told me I was approved,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought maybe I was too young and wouldn’t get it.”
Applying was the first of many steps that Davenport would have to take to get the home.
“All of our applicants are required to put in 250 hours of Habitat activities,” said Kristine Dewitt, who heads family services at Macomb Habitat.
“One hundred of those hours have to be completed on a build site; they have to take an eight-week money management course and a six-hour home ownership course; we feel education is important so they can be more knowledgeable homeowners and get into a home and keep it.”
For Davenport, it was 250 hours of Habitat activities on top of working 50-plus hours a week at two different jobs and raising two young girls as a single mother.
“I started my hours March 7 and I finished them June 25,” Davenport said. “I had to rearrange my work schedule so I could put in the 100 on-site hours during the day, and my only free time during that time was when I went to sleep, but it wasn’t too hard because I was doing it all for this — our own house.”
She knew she wanted the brick bungalow the minute she saw it. The location was perfect — in between her mom in Detroit and her sister in northern Macomb County — and the street was lined with well-kept homes.
“When I first saw it, the walkway up to the porch was bad, the driveway was bad, the porch was crumbling, there were only two shutters left hanging on the house and one was falling, the floors inside were horrible, all the doors were old and wooden and it needed new plumbing, electrical and all that stuff, but I had been on some builds at other sites already and knew that we’d redo it all anyway,” Davenport said.
Despite having worked on it throughout the process herself, Davenport was surprised when she finally saw the home — her new home — completely finished.
“It’s perfect,” she said. “I love it. And Habitat gave me so much with it. They put in a brand new stove and refrigerator and dishwasher and they gave me a goody bag with 200 new homeowner must-haves — there was even a Bible in there. They gave me everything I’ll need when I get to move in next month.”
Habitat dedicated the home to her after she finished her hours, but Davenport doesn’t close on the house until Aug. 2.
She and her girls, Sariyah, 5, and Saniya, 2, can’t wait to move in and the folks who helped her over at Habitat are just as excited.
“I wish Melissa and her family many years of happiness in their new home,” Dewitt said.
And going by Macomb Habitat statistics, chances are they probably will. To date, Macomb Habitat has 113 mortgages in Macomb County and they have never had to foreclose on any of them.
For more information on Macomb Habitat, visit www.macombhabitat.org.
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