Fourth Annual Detroit 2020-Habitat for Humanity Detroit BuildUp draws volunteers from all over U.S.

One-day build helps build dreams on the east side

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Dozens of volunteers came out Saturday, August 9 to hammer for a good cause on Detroit’s east side.

It was the 4th Annual Detroit 2020 - Habitat for Humanity Detroit BuildUP.  WXYZ / WMYD’s Detroit 2020 team partnered with Habitat again to help build gable walls, interior walls, and planters for several future homes in the Morningside Commons neighborhood.


“Our house was built with love.  So, when we moved in, we know, like every light switch, every piece of paint, every nail that was drilled in was drilled in out of love,” said Sylvia Hubbard, a Habitat homeowner. “Someone gave their time to do this for us.” 

Hubbard is a Habitat for Humanity Family Partner.

“Our families put in anywhere between 250 to 350 hours of their time building homes and the homes of those around them,” said Vincent Tilford, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit.

After completing all their sweat equity hours and financial planning classes, the families get a 0% interest mortgage on a Habitat for Humanity home that they helped build.


Volunteers work alongside the Family Partners to build these homes from the concrete foundations to the rooftops.

A group of young people with AmeriCorps joined the BuildUp as part of their cross-country trek to overcome poverty through community empowerment, capacity building, and sustainable solutions.

“I actually go to Michigan State,” said Emettra Nelson of Southfield – one of those Americorps volunteers.  “My major is construction management and urban and regional planning.”

The BuildUp was also a good fit for WXYZ’s Community Action Team – Belfor, St. Joseph Mercy Health System, Priority Health, NECA and IBEW Local 58.

“We’ve worked on Habitat for years – do probably 6 or 7 [homes] throughout the year, and we’re going to be working on the Blitz Build again this year,” said Andy Dunbar with IBEW Local

“You spend an entire day down here, and at the end of the day, you’ve really got something you can point to with pride and say, ‘We made a difference,’” said Rick O’Donnll with Priorty health.

“None of us can do it alone. We have to work together to achieve our mission,” said Michael Miller with St. Joseph Mercy Health System.

A whole host of 7 Action New and TV 20 staff members came to the BuildUp to swing a hammer and build components for new homes.

Morning Anchor Alicia Smith helped create the BuildUp 4 years ago.

“I’m so impressed by the people who’ve volunteered to build at this event four years in a row,” said Smith. “And then there are the folks who signed up for the first time this year because they’ve always wanted to work on a Habitat project but didn’t know where to start.”

7 Action News Anchor Stephen Clark is one of those 4-years-in-a-row volunteers.  He worked alongside other team members.  WXYZ’s parent company Scripps is starting a new show called The List, and one of its new co-hosts -- Jimmy Rhoades – was one of the first-timer BuildUp volunteers.

The BuildUp could not have happened without the generous support from Mans Building and Lumber out of Canton.
Mans donated all the wood for the wall build.  This is the fourth year in a row the business has made this contribution to the BuildUp.

English Gardens also donated flowers and soil for the BuildUp. Construction volunteers made planters for the neighborhood, and then they planted the flowers that were donated.

The walls during the BuildUp will be part of seven homes completed during Habitat for Humanity Detroit’s annual Blitz Build August 16 – 23.

“We’re going to build 7 houses in 7 days,” said Tilford. “We’ll finish with our 108th home in the Morningside Commons neighborhood.”

If you’d like to sign up to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or make a donation, click here.


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