DETROIT – On Saturday, Aug. 25, more than 350 volunteers are expected to gather on Detroit's northeast side to board up 100 houses in an effort to cleanup one of Detroit's more blighted neighborhoods.
The project, 100 Houses, is championed by Mitch Albom's A Time to Help charity and the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, and is the first of its kind in Detroit.
Volunteers will begin mobilizing in a lot across from Turning Point Academy located at 12300 Linnhurst St. near 7-Mile and Hoover at 8 a.m. Mayor David Bing will be on location to greet and thank the volunteers at 8:15 a.m. at the gathering site. The goal is to have the 100 Houses boarded up by 3 p.m.
According to 100 Houses, the project is an attempt to unite a community through volunteer efforts and to help relieve the city's burden and its hemorrhaging budget.
In his column appearing in the Detroit Free Press on Aug. 5, Albom discussed the problem the 100 Houses project is trying to address.
"If we don't patch up the blocks that still hold families, there may not be neighborhoods to rebuild," he said. "The city doesn't have the money. It won't for some time. There are an estimated 40,000 abandoned structures in the city, and, according to a Free Press analysis, more than 5,000 within a quarter-mile of schools."
Organizers said the homes are frequently inhabited by drug dealers, prostitutes and people seeking shelter, hiding or a place to use drugs, creating potential danger for the public.
Several local companies have joined the project, including Bolyard Lumber of Birmingham, Belfor, a property restoration company headquartered in Livonia, Mosher and Associates in Birmingham, Blight Busters of Detroit, Re-Construction, Inc. in Detroit, Tamer Plumbing, Home Depot, Starbucks and Shield's Pizza.