The former Michigan Bell Building in Detroit has been renovated into apartments for the homeless

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) - A historic Detroit building, the old Michigan Bell skyscraper that sat vacant for 20 years, has been newly renovated into offices and an apartment building.

"It is a blessing," said Cassandra Moore. 

This is the first time Moore has had to place to live in over this past year.  When her husband died of a heart attack last November, Cassandra Moore became homeless.  The retired Chrysler worker had supported both of them.

"It was a hard bumpy road.  I tell you," said Moore.

Moore just recently got back on her feet in this brand new apartment with the help of the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO).

"These are vulnerable individuals who we seek out to help," said Michelle Bosau with NSO.  The non-profit group renovated the old Michigan Bell Building on Oakman Boulevard into 155 apartments for the homeless who are trying to get back on their feet.

"if you get a roof over somebody's head it's much easier to tackle things like addiction and mental illness," said Bosau.

Now known as the NSO Bell Building, the low income housing has the modern look and feel of a high end apartment building with the amenities.  Items donated from neighborhood fundraisers also mean residents don't need to buy things like towels, sheets, and toiletries.   

"The biggest reason we selected this building it was a historical landmark in the City of Detroit.  It's also a key component of community re-development efforts in this area," said Joe Heaphy, Vice President of Real Estate Development and Management with NSO.

The NSO offices will also be in the building with 200 employees working out of the building so that counseling services are available on site.  It's rent at an affordable price for people who cannot afford much, but still need a place to call home.

"It was just so amazing.  I take advantage of it because it's mine," said Moore.

The cost to renovate the building comes out to $52 million dollars.  The money came from grants and private donations.

There are still things that the group needs for residents, like items for their community room and workout equipment for the fitness room.  If you would like to donate to the NSO wish list for residents you can find items needed here: CommunityRoomWishList

Volunteers are still setting up apartments for future residents.  They will set up apartments again on Friday on Friday, September 28 from 8 a.m. to noon and 6 p.m.-10 p.m.  Then again on Saturday, September 29 from 8 a.m. to Noon and 1:30 p.m.-5:30p.m.  

If you would like to volunteer you can find the sign-up sheet with information here: Constantcontact.com/register/event

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