DETROIT, MI – Five families are moving into new homes in Hamtramck, Michigan because Wayne County, Habitat for Humanity and their partners completed the final five of 25 homes the County committed to build to support families that were impacted by the historic federal court decision in Garrett v. City of Hamtramck.
Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans took part in a “Passing of the Keys” dedication ceremony for two of the homes on Whalen Street today along with Habitat for Humanity Detroit Board President, Bishop Edgar Vann, Hamtramck City Manager Katrina Powell and members of the community.
Wayne County was not a part of the law suit, but the County used $4.1 million of its HUD funds to build 25 homes, which is helping to bring closure to a several decade’s long effort to build 200 new homes for those affected by an unlawful urban renewal program that displaced families. The single-family, two-story homes are approximately 1,600 square feet and include four bedrooms, a two-car detached garage and Energy Star appliances.
“I am pleased my administration has successfully helped fulfill a promise Wayne County made many years ago to make these families and decedents whole with these new homes,” said County Executive Evans. “It is a testament to our team’s unyielding commitment to improve the lives of Wayne County’s residents. This initiative should serve as inspiration to other cities that collaboration and putting the interests of the people first can help breathe new life into communities.”
Over the years, in addition to the funds to build these 25 homes, Wayne County has contributed significantly to the entire project by providing technical assistance, grants, and loans for demolition and site remediation.
Diane Williams, a daughter of one of the original plaintiffs in the law suit, shared her joy about justice finally being served and the excitement of moving into her new home. “I am so grateful for this experience and the people who have helped along the way. This home has been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. I’m most looking forward to celebrating the holidays in my new home surrounded by family and friends.”
Bishop Edgar Vann, Habitat Detroit Board President, added, “For over 40 years, this has been a stalled development for all of the wrong reasons. Judge Damon Keith has been a champion of this project and I am delighted that Habitat for Humanity Detroit has been able to partner in the advancement of justice, especially in view of the historical significance of this case.”
Wayne County Partners
In the time since Wayne County has been involved in the project, it has had many partners support its participation, including: the City of Hamtramck, Habitat for Humanity Detroit, Community 1st Mitchelle, LLC, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, National Faith Homebuyers, Kathy Makino-Leipsitz CEO of Shelborne Development, Al Bogdan, and Neighborhood Housing Solutions.