$1 Million Donation Breaks the Ice for ‘Leaders to Rebuild Detroit’

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor Seeing the success of the housing incentives launched last year—Live Downtown and Live Midtown—and the growing interest for recently opened Challenge Detroit, a new multi-million dollar initiative aiming at revitalizing the city was announced this week [...]

Seeing the success of the housing incentives launched last year—Live Downtown and Live Midtown—and the growing interest for recently opened Challenge Detroit, a new multi-million dollar initiative aiming at revitalizing the city was announced this week by Habitat for Humanity Detroit.

Called “Leaders to ReBuild Detroit,” the $25 million campaign will engage financial aid coming from the city’s corporate leaders and will focus on enlivening MorningSide, a rough neighborhood in the eastern part of Detroit. According to Crain’s Detroit Business, the nonprofit plans to provide financial aid for at least 500 families by 2014. The money would be used for construction of new homes, rehabilitation of unoccupied ones, and implementation of energy-efficient upgrades and weatherization projects. Apart from this financial help, 200 families living in this neighborhood would have access to homeownership workshops, financial literacy training and community security programs.

In an effort to lead by example, General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson and his wife, Karin Akerson, donated $1 million to Habitat for Humanity Detroit. Dan Akerson’s historic personal donation will cover the costs of rehabilitation, construction and repair of 20 homes and weatherization of 12 more houses. Habitat for Humanity started working in MorningSide in 2005; since 2007 the nonprofit has built 79 new homes and helped rehabilitate two, but construction stalled because of the economic downturn.

“Leaders to ReBuild Detroit” marks the beginning of a Habitat for Humanity statewide $225 million affordable housing campaign called “ReBuild Michigan.”