A new home is on its way to Howard Street in Clinton Township and Joe Churches’ Dakota High School construction students are the builders behind it.
For the sixth year, the Dakota program has partnered with Macomb County Habitat for Humanity to construct a new home for a low-income Macomb County family.
The three-bedroom, one-bath home was unveiled to the public on May 24 in the Dakota Construction Trades building where it was built from the ground up.
“It’s phenomenal,” said David Tirsell, Macomb Habitat faith relations manager. “Joe (Churches) is a really good teacher and is able to work with the students at their skill level. He’s very particular, so if something is not up to his standards, they redo it.”
The home, which will be moved to Howard Street this summer, will be sold to a low-income family with a zero-interest loan.
The home’s future owners will be a partner of Macomb Habitat, meaning they will have had ties to Macomb County for at least six months and every adult in the family will have contributed 250 hours of "sweat equity" to Habitat.
“This can be helping to finish their own home or taking courses on home repair,” Tirsell said. “One hundred of the 250 hours are construction skills so if they need to do repairs, or just hang a picture, they can be comfortable with that.”
Macomb Habitat, with additional funding from Clinton Township, covered the cost of construction materials, while more than 80 of Churches’ students worked to build every inch of the home since mid-October 2011.
“We start with the basics and I make sure the kids understand what quality really means and work ethic,” Churches said. “The students learn something every day but most don’t see their improvement until they look at the completed home. They don’t believe they built that.”
Aspiring builder and Dakota sophomore, Kevin Schmidt, is one of them.
“We started the class with safety tests … then began building sheds and learning the flow of things,” Schmidt said. “On the house, we did everything from the framing to the roofing work and now it’s pretty much done.”
Built in two halves with a collapsible roof to allow for easier transportation, the home will be bolted together and completed by Habitat volunteers once it has reached its final destination on Howard Street.
This home will be the 17th constructed on Howard Street since Habitat started the subdivision in 2007.
Tirsell said community members can help programs like this continue by making financial donations or volunteering to help build or renovate a Habitat home themselves.
A homeowner informational meeting will be held Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch, 40900 Romeo Plank Road. For more information on the Habitat program, visit the website at www.macombhabitat.org or call 586-263-1540.