[Adapted from an article by Debra Lashbrook.]
Habitat for Humanity Lansing hosted Rep. Barb Byrum (67-Onondaga) and Rep. Joan Bauer (68-Lansing) on Sept. 9, where the lawmakers helped nail siding and build a home at 3301 Danbury Crossroad, Lansing.
Reps. Bauer and Byrum volunteered alongside members of the homeowner family, the construction crew and community volunteers, which included employees of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Greater Ingham County Habitat. The Lansing property is a six-bedroom, two-story home being constructed for, and in partnership with, a family of twelve.
“It truly is an honor to be able to volunteer alongside residents from the community and raise awareness for affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization projects across our state. I specifically would like to thank Habitat for Humanity for making this possible and assure them that what I have experienced today will be reflected in my work in Lansing,” says Rep. Byrum.
[This article is from the Summer 2011 newsletter of Wexford Habitat for Humanity - read it here.]
On July 8, there were some familiar faces on the Wexford Habitat work site on Chestnut Street. Homeowner April Boersma was there with Executive Director Deb Maxey, several volunteers and board members, but also present were some well-known local and state officials. They were all participating in the Legislators Building Communities (LBC) initiative.
The LBC initiative was launched by the Living in Michigan Coalition which is a broad-based group of more than 20 statewide housing and community development organizations. The goal of the initiative is to involve legislators, state officials and volunteers in projects all over Michigan. On this day, State Representative Phil Potvin (102-Cadillac) joined Senator Darwin Booher (35-Evart) and Cadillac City Manager Marcus Preccia to help build the porch onto the Boersma home. It was a hot day for building, but everyone seemed to be having a good time. Senator Booher has participated in Legislator Builds before, but last time he brought home a sore thumb as a souvenir. He was hoping to avoid any additional souvenirs. Although this was Potvin’s first year to participate as a legislator, he is no stranger to Wexford Habitat. His former company, Western Concrete, was a frequent Habitat contributor.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to educate the general public on the need for affordable housing and community improvement. We are confident that our legislators will carry that message with them wherever they go.
On July 16th, Representative Nancy Jenkins (57-Clayton) participated in the 3rd Lowe’s Women Build Clinic with Habitat for Humanity of Lenawee County. This was an opportunity for women to learn the skills involved in applying vinyl siding. The women at the clinic learned carpentry skills and built a potting shed from the ground up.
Executive Director Bob Dister says, “We eagerly anticipate a future Women Build project and will include Nancy in all that we do.”
Alpena resident Stephanie Liske and her two sons will soon have a brand-new home, thanks to Habitat for Humanity of Northeast Michigan and volunteers like Representative Peter Pettalia (106-Presque Isle). On September 16, Representative Pettalia went to Alpena to put vinyl siding on the new house for the Liske family.
He worked alongside volunteers from varied backgrounds, including Care-A-Vanners from Fenton (MI) and Wisconsin, youth from the Alpena High School Building Trades class and previous Habitat board members.
Habitat Executive Director Mike Wilson said, “It was a pleasure to work with our State Representative, Peter Pettalia, on our Habitat build here in Alpena. It is a great way to experience first-hand the needs of our community and strengthen relationships with our elected officials.”
West Michigan Lawmakers came together on September 6 for a Kent County Habitat Build and a Brush with Kindness spruce up in Grand Rapids. A Brush with Kindness is Habitat’s exterior home preservation service that offers painting, landscaping, weather stripping and minor repair services for homeowners in need.
Senator Mark Jansen (28- Gaines Twp), Representative Lisa Lyons (86- Alto), Representative Brandon Dillon (75- Grand Rapids), Representative David Agema (74- Grandville), Representative Thomas Hooker (77- Byron Center), and Representative Ken Yonker (72- Caledonia), worked alongside their staff members and other volunteers to put up vinyl siding at a Habitat house and landscape a neighboring house with a Brush with Kindness.
Senator Jansen was also presented with an award for his years of service with Habitat by Sandy Pearson, President and CEO of Habitat of Michigan. Senator Jansen’s staffer, Russ Van Allen, also lent a hand along with the Senator. Other
Mary Buikema, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Kent County said, “Our West MI Legislators Building Communities event has been wonderful because it builds community while giving people an opportunity to make a difference with more than one family at a time.”
View a slideshow with more photos from this event! Click here.
South Haven Habitat for Humanity received help this July from both Representative Aric Nesbitt (80-Lawton) and Senator John Proos (21-St. Joseph, pictured in green).
Both legislators volunteered for the Entergy build, working alongside other volunteers from the community and area businesses.
South Haven Habitat is celebrating its 20th birthday this year and 20 homes built.
On June 13, Senator James Marleau (12-Lake Orion) joined Oakland County Habitat for Humanity on the first day of their annual “Building on Faith Week“. By the end of the week, they were able to build three new homes for families in need, with the help and support of about 40 local churches.
[This story is adapted from Detroit WXYZ's article, which you can read here.]
On July 30, Rep. Lisa Howze (2-Detroit) donned more comfortable clothing and spent several hours with Habitat for Humanity Detroit helping with their 25th Anniversary Blitz Build. Rep. Howze is one of the four legislative advisors for Legislators Building Communities.
The Blitz Build kicked off on Monday, July 25th, and has a short-term goal of building four homes in four weeks. The long-term goal is to build or rehabilitate at least 500 homes in the next five years. That is significant considering Habitat Detroit has built or rehabilitated more than 300 homes in the last 25 years.
“We’ve served more than 1,000 children…who might otherwise be in lead-contaminated homes,” said Vincent Tilford, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit.
“We build and rehab homes with extremely high construction standards to ensure that these homeowners have a safe, energy efficient home that will result in low maintenance costs throughout the years of ownership,” added Tilford.
Habitat for Humanity Detroit is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian-based, housing ministry that provides low-income, working families the opportunity to purchase modest, affordable housing in which to raise their families.
On Thursday, August 25, Sen. Goeff Hansen (34-Hart), and Rep. Holly Hughes (91-White River Twp.), along with some of the representative’s staff rolled up their sleeves and dug in, literally, helping Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity with its mission of ending poverty housing in Muskegon County. The legislators helped landscape and build a fence at a Habitat home being constructed in partnership with the city of Muskegon at 461 Marquette Avenue.
County Commissioners Anthony Longmire and Rillastine Wilkin also stopped by, as
did Muskegon City Commissioner Clara Shepherd. Later in the evening, the Pearson family welcomed more friends, family and volunteers into their new house, as the home was formally dedicated.
Representative Marcia Hovey-Wright (92-Muskegon) had a conflict on the 25th, but made a point to come volunteer at the same house earlier in the month.
On July 7, House minority Floor Leader, Kate Segal (62-Battle Creek), lent a hand with along with a staff member from Speaker Bolger’s office and many other volunteers. The crew worked on a total gut rehab at two homes in Battle Creek.