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'Freedom Village' being built to house refugee families in Hamtramck

Posted: 5:00 AM, Oct 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-02 07:42:00-04

HAMTRAMCK, Mich (WXYZ) — What is currently an empty lot on Faber Street in Hamtramck will now turn into “Freedom Village," homes where refugee families will be welcomed.

There will be three homes built, all of them duplexes allowing for six families.

The goal is to take in families for about a year, providing them with low income rent and allowing time to adjust to life here in the states before finding their own home. That way, new families needing shelter can continue to circulate in.

Wayne County will be using $1.2 million in federal funding through U.S. Department Of Housing And Urban Development, or HUD, to help fund the project. According to Assistant County Executive Khalil Rahal, the goal is for these families to settle and stay in Wayne County to help the economy.

“We have a dramatic work force development problem really, in Wayne County, the number one thing we hear from businesses all the time, and we think you know immigrants and refugees can help with that problem,” said Rahal.

The Wayne County Land Bank is donating the lot of land for the project. Wayne County Metropolitan Community Action Agency will develop the properties and serve as owner. Social services organization Samaritas will be in charge of finding the refugee families that are in need of a home.

“To be a refugee means that you have been certified with a well founded fear of either persecution, torture or death,” said Dee Dee McVety, Director of Giving for Samaritas.

The homes should be complete in June of 2020. Samaritas plans to find families to fill the homes 90 days before the completion date.

“I have no problem where they come from in the world as long as they're human beings, they're going to come here, we are going to welcome them, they have families just like us,” said Fathi Mozep, who lives two doors down from the planned “Freedom Village”.

These refugee families will be in one of the most diverse cities in Wayne County. According to the mayor, half of the population are people from other counties.

“I think we are really a microcosm of what America, of the ideals that America is built on and of a way to make those ideals real, in the real world on the ground,” said Mayor of Hamtramck Karen Majewski.