SAGINAW-SHIAWASSEE HABITAT FOR HUMANITY purchased just over seven parcels of property on S. Washington and Monroe streets on Wednesday with plans to construct four new Habitat homes in the future.
Gathered at Cislo Title in Owosso for the momentous occasion are (standing, from left) Jim Civille, realtor; Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity Treasurer Ann Gamboe Hall, ReStore Manager Rick Merlin and Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat Executive Director Carmen Mora. Sitting are Charlie Wargel, “Number One” Habitat volunteer and Robert Meihls, GracePointe Wesleyan Trustee.
Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity purchased property on S. Washington Street in Owosso on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and has announced plans to construct four new Habitat homes. The land sale agreement was between GracePointe Wesleyan Church, now located north of Owosso, and Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity. The property is directly north of the previous GracePointe Church site, now owned by Josh’s Frogs. The four lots, just over seven parcels, are situated on the corner of S. Washington and Monroe streets.
The historic sale of the property at just over $20,000 took place in downtown Owosso at Cislo Title on Wednesday morning – and marks the first time in several years that Habitat will return to building homes in the area.
The funding used in the purchase was to honor Justin Horvath’s wishes to use monies he had raised in Shiawassee County as the 2019 Mr. Owosso. Horvath, President/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, raised over $44,000 for Habitat in his Mr. Owosso campaign during the Curwood Festival. Sue Osika, Owosso Mayor Pro Tem, was his campaign manager.
“I’m tremendously excited to see Habitat’s new construction project move forward with this land acquisition. We are very much in need of attainable housing in Owosso and Shiawassee County, and this effort will absolutely address that need,” shared Horvath. “Thank you to our friends at GracePointe Wesleyan Church for their support in making this possible.”
Horvath added, “It was truly one of the great honors of my lifetime to become Mr. Owosso 2019 by raising funds and awareness for this impactful housing nonprofit, and to see how that effort has helped lead to this moment, it’s truly heartwarming.”
Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat Executive Director Carmen Mora was equally pleased about the purchase. “This is our mission,” she said. “This is a super big deal. It is all part of the Habitat model to build new houses or rehab houses … or help with home repairs for families who already own their homes, and to include a pay-it-forward attitude so helping others becomes cyclical.”
The group’s mission statement is “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.” Saginaw and Shiawassee merged in 2014.
Mora detailed how Habitat strives to include homeowners in the process – whether it involves rehab or new construction. There is a strong educational and civic-minded focus to Habitat, as the nonprofit essentially helps those who are also willing to try to help others. After the Wednesday purchase, Mora shared next phases of the project will include locating interested renters willing to be disciplined in mortgage-readiness, and planning for numerous fundraising or grant-seeking efforts.
“We are committed to growing the work that Habitat is suppose to do in the county. We are very excited to build houses,” Mora said.
State Representative Ben Frederick shared he is “excited to see this effort to return to Owosso.” Frederick’s family has deep roots with Habitat as they live in a Habitat built home. The home was constructed in 1996, and for Frederick it “was a game changer” for him growing up. His parents continue to reside in the home.
“I had some of my more formative experiences working with the Habitat team as a kid,” Frederick shared, jokingly adding that he and his brother likely used twice as many nails as required while working on their own home. “Habitat certainly sparked my interest in community service. It is pretty special.”
To find out more about Habitat, visit www.sshfh.org. If interested in volunteering or donating, contact Rick Merlin at the Owosso ReStore at (989) 720-0381. The store is located at 1494 N. M-52, Owosso.