From bricks and mortar to homes

Published 6:31 pm Thursday, June 10, 2010

Myron Stubbs and his children, Malik, Christine and Renada, are the recipients of Harbor Habitat for Humanity's 100th home, to be dedicated in July. Photo submitted


When it was established in 1995, Habitat for Humanity was facing a relatively bleak situation in Benton Harbor.

Homes were, quite simply, not being built.

“We opened our doors 15 years ago,” said Christopher Laurent, director of development for Harbor Habitat for Humanity. “And it was in 1996 that we built our first two houses.
“When we went to pull the residential build permits for those houses, we found out that only one other build permit had been pulled in the last 25 years,” he said. “That is just a sign of a dying community. That’s just a downward spiral. The city went from about 22,000 people to 12,000 people in just a matter of decades. And a lot of those homes were in disrepair – blight.”

Enter the hammers and nails of Habitat for Humanity, the “Christian non-profit housing ministry” building homes in cities large and small, educating those families in need of a home on the essentials of homeownership and transforming lives and landscapes.

And this summer it will celebrate the build of its 100th home in the community.

“What’s neat about Harbor Habitat for Humanity,” Laurent said, “is it’s all in the education of the partner family. It’s more than just building an affordable home, and what’s unique about Harbor Habitat is we build homes for home ownership.”

Home ownership is exactly what awaits Myron Stubbs and his three children – future owners of Harbor Habitat’s 100th house.

It was two years ago that Stubbs and his children, Malik, Christine and Renada, were living at the Benton Harbor Emergency Shelter. He was able to get work through the shelter’s resale store and he’ll take part in Habitat’s sweat equity program, putting his time into the build and the preparation of his new home.