Two men living illegally on Detroit residential lot will get a new home thanks to community support

Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 17:59:19-04

Thanks to support from the community and other caring people, two men, without a permanent home, will be getting a new place to stay. 

For William Billings, an Army veteran, and Jason Ensinger, it will mark a new start. They got a first look at the outside of what will be their future home Wednesday afternoon.

The house is located on the grounds of Triumph Church on Ford Road. 

"I like it," said Billings. "It's not a bad looking place."

Vines have grown up the side of the house, which has been vacant for nearly a decade. The house will require repairs and a thorough cleaning before the men can move in.

"I don't mind working," Billings told 7 Action News. "Elbows get greasy and it'll keep me out of the cold." 

The house is being made available to the two men thanks to the efforts of a community group and other caring people.

"I'm very happy," said Barb Matney, president of the Warrendale Community Organization. "It's a great place, great history here and a nice place for them guys to be able to stay warm and live."

Detroit Police officers Carrie Livingston and Kurt Williams initially took interest in the two men and their well being after complaints from neighbors on how they were living. 

Billings lives out of a small trailer now. He shares the lot with Ensinger, who sleeps in his van at night. 

"The property's not even theirs," said Detroit Police officer Carrie Livingston. "We did some research and how they're living is technically illegal. It violates a lot of ordinances, but hopefully this will work out for them."

Two dozen University of Michigan students will help clean-up the grounds on Friday. it is hoped the men will be able to move into the house by Christmas.