CLINTON TOWNSHIP — It usually takes a lot of work to make a house a home, and sometimes it takes a trailer to move a house in the first place.
That was the case with a house that was moved to Clinton Township on Sept. 23, courtesy of Macomb County Habitat for Humanity.
The house was the seventh of its kind to be built by Chippewa Valley Schools students at Dakota High School as part of a construction trade project that educates the youth while providing a new abode for a partner family. Funding was provided by Home Dollars from the Home Consortium and the township.
“This move symbolizes so many things — creativity, teamwork, youth excellence and family,” stated Helen Hicks, executive director of Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, in a press release. “We are beyond thrilled that Dakota High school has selected us as their partner year after year.”
The concept is pretty simple in theory, but it obviously involves hard work as the students devote time and energy to create a place where a family will live and grow.
The construction takes place on site at Dakota. Along with the roof and walls being constructed, some furnishings are completed, as well. After the house is built, a trailer hauls the house to its new location.
“It’s been a fantastic program,” Joe Churches said at a recent Clinton Township board meeting. Churches is the instructor who heads the program at Dakota. “I’ve been very blessed with it.”
Once the house is transported, volunteers at Habitat for Humanity take over. On this particular house off Howard Street in Clinton Township, work will be completed this fall on landscaping, basement stairs, painting and other interior work. Licensed trade workers will connect plumbing, electrical and heating systems.
The families who eventually live in these constructed homes are known as partner families, and they have to apply to be eligible. Habitat for Humanity looks at income and credit on the basis that the houses that are constructed can be afforded. The size of the family is also a point of interest.
The caveat is that the partner family needs to complete 250 hours of “sweat equity” en route to home ownership. This involves working on their own homes or other homes for 100 hours, as well as doing 150 hours of promotions for Habitat for Humanity.
Classes involving financial planning and home maintenance are also encouraged. Once the program is completed, the partner family will purchase the home with a no-interest loan agreement and become taxpaying citizens of the city in which they reside.
“It’s possible to make too much money,” said Karen Bates-Gasior, Deputy Director of Macomb County Habitat for Humanity. “If you’re two people, you won’t get a four-bedroom house.”
Basically, there is a guideline for dollar amounts and being in a certain range. However, she said that only about a third of the families that apply get past the first step of the process, due to qualification restrictions.
As for the volunteers, they are just helping others for the sake of kindness.
“Volunteers come from all walks of life — business, church, individual, etc. (The house in Clinton Township) is a house the students built,” Bates-Gasior said. “That’s the beauty of volunteers: the satisfaction of helping somebody.”
Habitat for Humanity strives to provide safe and affordable housing, while students work diligently and learn the meaning of hard work. Then, families get the opportunity to thrive in their new homes.
It’s a situation where everybody wins.