Habitat homes in Westland, Redford godsend to families

Habitat for Humanity of Western Wayne County has been building and rehabbing a number of homes in Westland, joining homes for low-income families in other western Wayne communities.

A groundbreaking was recently held for a Westland home for Torri Lewis, a single mother of four children, Trevaun, 15, Tiara, 13, Tiana, 5, and Tavion, 3.Torri Lewis has been employed at Oakland Regional Hospital as a patient care technician for three years. She has been in this career for 17 years. She is enrolled at Wayne County Community College to pursue a career as a registered nurse. Lewis has already secured over 160 sweat equity hours working on other Habitat projects, a requirement for all families moving into Habitat homes who put in 250 hours.

The groundbreaking and wall-raising ceremony started around 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 17. People were in attendance from the following churches to participate in the ceremony: St. John Neumann Catholic, Our Lady of Victory in Northville, First Presbyterian Church of Northville, First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth, St Paul’s Lutheran Church of Northville and Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Livonia. Following the wall-raising ceremony, a crew from Christ Our Savior worked on the job site the rest of the day and completed most of the exterior walls of the house.

Alice Dent, executive director of the Plymouth-based Habitat for Humanity affiliate, acted as the mistress of ceremonies for the groundbreaking wall-raising ceremony. Joanne Inglis, community development/housing director from the city of Westland, was on hand for the ceremony and welcomed the new family to Westland.

Habitat affiliate work is also on tap for Redford Township. Supervisor Tracey Schultz Kobylarz, officials from Habitat for Humanity and the Yatooma’s Foundation for The Kids are eager to pound nails and raise walls on Berwyn Street in Redford Township to provide affordable shelter for Angela Jackson and her three children. This first historic build is fully funded by Redford Township using their SNAP Funds (Stabilizing Neighborhood Action Plan) allocated from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) from HUD.

“We are grateful to partner with Redford Township and Yatooma’s Foundation as we strive to strengthen the family and the community,” said Dent of Habitat. Redford Township’s Community Development Director Michael Dennis said, “It’s an honor to work with Habitat for Humanity and particularly the Western Wayne County affiliate to build on our first venture, and we anticipate many opportunities in the future.“

“The home is the vital center of life for every family,” said Norman Yatooma, founder and president of Yatooma’s Foundation For The Kids. “We appreciate the support of Habitat for Humanity, as our organization’s mission aligns with theirs to help the Jackson family build a new life in a new home.” The groundbreaking and wall-raising ceremony in Redford will be noon Friday, Aug. 13.

Together for 13 years, and married for eight, Angela and Anthony Jackson had three children and a happy family together. Everything changed on the fateful evening of Oct. 5, 2009. Anthony, a kind man who always helped other people, was driving home and exiting the expressway when he saw a woman, who later gave this account: She had been beaten and was attempting to flag a car down for help. One car had already driven past her before Anthony stopped to assist. She asked him to drive her to her sister’s house, a safe place from her assaulter. While driving, he noticed someone behind them whom she identified as her attacker. The man kept following them, and once they neared her sister’s home, he rammed his car into the back of Anthony’s car, forcing it into a pole. The man then pulled Anthony out of his car and began beating him with a tire iron. Anthony died as a result of those injuries. The woman spent time in a coma, but survived.

Anthony worked two jobs to support his family, and the loss has been extremely hard, both emotionally and financially, for the Jackson family. In addition to providing the Jackson family with rent and utility assistance, food and emotional support, Yatooma’s Foundation For The Kids helped connect Angela with Habitat for Humanity.


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