Anchoring a Neighborhood

The Suburbs Alliance is kicking off Green Anchors, an ambitious project that aims to transform residential neighborhoods across our region, one house and one person at a time.

The first phase will focus on a neighborhood in Southgate, purchasing 4 foreclosed homes and rehabbing them to the highest environmental standards, which will keep energy bills as low as possible while also demonstrating new environmentally-friendly techniques and materials. Once the homes are complete, seniors and veterans who are enthusiastic about engaging in their community will move in. These new residents will pay reduced rent in exchange for serving their neighborhoods as “sustainability coaches,” offering tours and sharing the innovative practices demonstrated in their new homes.

Just last week, we visited the first two homes in the program and met with our building contractor to talk about what we should do to improve these homes and make them assets to the neighborhood. Both homes have been vacant and foreclosed for three or more years, so a few neighbors stopped by to see what we were up to! They were happy to hear that someone was finally going to invest in these houses and turn them around.

House #1

This home is small, but has a great location on a double lot. The foundation needs a lot of work—which is probably why the bank couldn’t find a buyer on the regular market—but it’s a great house, so we’re thrilled that our grant funding will allow us to repair the foundation and get it ready for new residents.

House #2

The second house has a beautiful, bright, open layout with wide doorways connecting the living room, dining room and kitchen. The previous owners kept it in excellent shape, it has new windows and the interior doesn’t need too much work. We are planning to make a few changes to really make the place shine, like refinishing the cabinets, replacing the shower, and removing the carpet so we can refinish the beautiful hardwood floors underneath.

The biggest issue with this house is the garage out back, which is in serious disrepair and leaning dangerously toward the neighbor’s yard. We will bring in some heavy equipment and a trained demolition crew to make sure we can demolish this building safely and recycle as many of the materials as possible before replacing this eyesore with a nice, new lawn.


These homes need some work, but with a bit of imagination and a grant from Wayne County’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, we are looking forward to transforming these vacant homes into strong anchors for this wonderful neighborhood.




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