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A Different Approach For Habitat For Humanity

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) - It's the same mission, but a different approach for Habitat for Humanity.

Instead of letting them go to waste in the foreclosure crisis, Habitat Oakland and partners will rehabilitate a half-dozen vacant homes in Southfield for families who could not otherwise afford their own.

Habitat Oakland President Tim Ruggles explained why, at these for this batch, they decided it didn't make sense to build from the ground up.

"It would actually be somewhat irresponsible, when we've got all these foreclosed homes and these vacant houses, to build on empty lots," Ruggles said.

WWJ Newsradio 950's Ron Dewey spoke with Debbie Threet -- one of the six future Southfield homeowners.

"Just in the last 5 years ... every year someone close to me has died. Some of these people were people I was living with, so it kinda left me without a home," said Threet.  "We so look forward to our house!"

Threet now lives in Ypsilanti, but has to commute to downtown Detroit for daughter to attend Cass Tech before she then travels to work at the Habitat Store in Pontiac. Having a home in Southfield not only cuts down her commute but puts more money in her wallet instead of her gas tank.

Habitat is getting help from the city of Southfield and corporate volunteers to complete the project.

Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence said it's a win-win for the community.

"We understand that when there's a family in there, it impacts the schools ... because we have declining enrollment in our schools, it impacts our businesses, locally, with taxes," said Lawrence.

"And then it beautifies the community, so someone else will wanna buy another home in the community," she said.

About 60 employees of Mercedes-Benz, along with other local companies, will be swinging hammers and painting walls as part of the year-long project.

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