Macomb Township firefighter and Neighbors United founder Joe Warne said he and his wife are seeking a new location for the nonprofit organization. It was founded in 2013 and is gradually expanding.

Macomb Township firefighter and Neighbors United founder Joe Warne said he and his wife are seeking a new location for the nonprofit organization. It was founded in 2013 and is gradually expanding.

File photo by Brandy Baker


Neighbors United searches for new location in Macomb Township

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published August 21, 2019

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Knowing it is gradually outgrowing its current space, Neighbors United is looking to move its headquarters to a new location.

Neighbors United founder Joe Warne said he and his wife, Kristie, are trying to sell their Macomb Township home, which doubles as the nonprofit’s base of operations.

“We’re debating on whether we’re going to continue looking for a house,” he said.

What Warne, a Macomb Township firefighter, would like, is to purchase a 5-acre property and build a home.   

Founded in 2013, Neighbors United consists of people who are dedicated to helping individuals and families who are down on their luck and need extra help. Its goal is to change lives one family at a time.

Warne would like to move to a new location as soon as the house is sold.

“If we decide to build, then we’d like to move probably within a year,” he noted. “If we decide we’re going to look for the right house with some property, the move would be as soon as possible. We’ll have to rent somewhere if we build.”

He would like to move Neighbors United north to Lenox Township or Washington Township.

“We need more space,” he said. “A lot of our revenue comes from donations like washers and dryers. We’re like a mini Salvation Army.”

Regardless of where they live, Warne would like to continue operating out of a home, just in a different location.

Last month, Neighbors United posted on Facebook that its goal was to find a permanent location with a storefront. That idea wasn’t feasible.

“We looked at getting retail space, but the difference in price between me buying a bigger home on more land is $400, compared to retail space at $2,000,” he said.

Warne’s goal is to obtain or build property with a pole barn so Neighbors United can host monthly garage sales and fundraisers.

His intention would be for half of the property to be dedicated to Neighbors United.

An offer for a new home with a storefront was accepted contingent on the Warne’s selling their home.

On Aug. 2, it was announced that the move was canceled, for now.

“We put a bid in on a home, but there was a better offer, which triggered a 72-hour contingency that we decided to let go (because) we wouldn’t want two house payments,” Warne said.

In the future, Warne hopes to have Neighbors United employees. Currently, it’s run by him and his wife, along with some volunteers.

“We help homeless veterans, children with cancer, domestic violence survivors and local families,” he said. “We give them gift cards to get through any type of issues they may have. Whether that be covering the cost of gas to get to or from the doctor’s or for groceries.”

In June, Warne, the 2019 Macomb Township Firefighter of the Year, completed a 140-mile walk in firefighter gear to raise funds for firefighters with cancer.

Since then, he said more people are taking Neighbors United seriously, resulting in more people asking for help and also more people trusting the nonprofit with their donations.

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