New homeowners Alice Harris and Loria Logan pose outside  of the finished duplex in Southfield Dec. 6.

New homeowners Alice Harris and Loria Logan pose outside of the finished duplex in Southfield Dec. 6.

Photo by Kathryn Pentiuk

Habitat Oakland brings its first multifamily home to Southfield

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published December 19, 2022

 A sneak peek shows one of the kitchens in the newly built duplex.

A sneak peek shows one of the kitchens in the newly built duplex.

Photo by Kathryn Pentiuk


SOUTHFIELD — They say that “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” but a stable and affordable home is not within reach for many.

That is why Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County was proud to welcome first-time homeowners Alice Harris and Loria Logan into a Southfield neighborhood with Habitat Oakland’s first multifamily home.

This build is not only the first multifamily home, but it’s also the first all-electric home by Habitat Oakland. The home dedication took place Dec. 6 and drew a large crowd to celebrate the completion of the duplex.

A press release from Habitat Oakland said the most important thing to Logan is to “have a place of her own for her daughters and future grandchildren to come back to.”

For many, homeownership appears unattainable, with the cost-of-living expenses and inflation. Data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows that minimum wage workers would have to work 62 hours a week to afford rent in a Michigan one-bedroom rental, and for a two-bedroom rental, they’d have to work 77 hours per week.

The coalition said that minimum wage workers would have to have 1.5 jobs to rent a one-bedroom rental or 1.9 jobs to rent in a two-bedroom rental.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority offers resources such as the MI Home Loan, which allows first-time homebuyers who have not owned a home in the previous three years and repeat homebuyers in targeted areas to get approved for a loan through one of the participating lenders. Household income limits apply and vary based on family size and location; buyers must have a minimum credit score of 640, or 660 for multiple-section manufactured homes, and a sale price limit of $224,500 statewide.

Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County has been empowering individuals in the community since 1995. Their services have helped over 1,200 people find safe and affordable housing, which is no small feat. Their motto is “a hand up, not a handout.”

Habitat Oakland CEO Tim Ruggles clarified their mission in his address at the dedication.

“There’s a lot of confusion on what Habitat actually does through our mission. A lot of people think we give away homes to poor people. And that is not what we do. We create a path to homeownership for our homebuyers, and this is a path of empowerment. This is not a giveaway program. There’s a lot of sweat equity. They have qualified for a regular mortgage on this property,” he said.

Speaking of “sweat equity,” Harris and Logan have put over 300 hours into building their home. The project was made possible by the Southfield Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative and volunteers such as the Larson Family Foundation, Women Build, Nissan, the city of Southfield, Cisco and Metabank.

Next-door neighbor David Ross has had a front-row seat to the building of this property. He and his pup, Molly, attended the dedication to welcome their new neighbors. In a special presentation, Ross and his wife, Sonya, gifted their new neighbors with two American flags to hang from the flag posts as a representation of homeownership as the “American Dream.”

“I wanted to come here today and meet them, since I haven’t had the opportunity to do so while they were working,” Ross said. “Habitat is a wonderful organization, and I’m glad to have them in the neighborhood.”

Ross, who worked for Home Depot for over 25 years, recalled collaborating with Habitat Oakland for three projects during his time there. The Rosses supplied the electricity for the construction for most of the year, running a supply line from their garage until the electricity was set up.

Also in attendance at the event was Mayor Kenson Siver, who explained that this unconventional lot took some rezoning and convincing of the City Council before they could break ground.

“This is a single-family home neighborhood, as you can tell, so we’re doing something different,” he said. “But that also tells you where we are as a country with housing. We need greater density to make neighborhoods work,” he said, pointing to the vacant lots across the street. “The future is across the street, and we’ll be seeing more of this.”