Church looking to transform house-turned-youth activity center into home again for refugees in Plymouth

An estimated 4,000 refugees will resettle in Michigan over next 3 years

DETROIT – Over the next three years, an estimated 4,000 refugees will resettle in Michigan.

The folks over at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Plymouth are fundraising to transform a house-turned-youth activity center into a home again so that it can host refugees.

Betsy Sole took on fundraising for the project they call St. John’s House for New Americans. She felt moved by seeing so many people in crisis worldwide.

“We thought we could have eight people in this house,” said Sole. “It’s not right to have it empty.”

When the church repurposed the home as a youth activity center, it was renovated to meet those needs. The walls were taken down to create more open spaces. Now, they’re looking to put the walls back up to recreate the home’s original four bedrooms.

Other work needs to be done to get things up to date and ready for families, as the house currently only has one bathroom without a bathtub.

They hope to add an additional bathroom to update the electrical system and build walls.

St. John’s Episcopal got the bids and figured it would take $120,000 to get the home ready. Over the past year, Sole has raised more than $90,000, but they’re still $30,000 short.

They’re hoping the community can pitch in and help them raise the rest.

“Here at Samaritas, we say, ‘Be the rock that starts the ripple,’ and that’s a ripple of positive,” said Kelli Dobner, Samaritas’ Chief Advancement Officer.

The group has helped countless refugees fleeing war, natural disasters, and other conditions resettle in Michigan.

More recently, the refugees have come from Ukraine, but people have come from all over, including the Middle East, Africa, and South and Central America.

Samaritas has been in contact with Betsy and will, without a doubt, have families ready to place just as soon as the home is ready.

For more on how to help St. John’s House for New Americans, you can text a donation by typing SJPlymouth in the body of the message to 73256, or you can donate by clipping here.

About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.