The organization that renovates houses to get them ready for low-income homeowners needs a little rehab itself.
Habitat for Humanity Detroit is undergoing a “strategic restructuring” that includes laying off most employees and closing ReStore locations, the agency announced Tuesday.
The group cited “ongoing challenges,” including financial issues.
“When I joined the organization roughly a year ago, the board charged me with addressing several financial issues,” said Ken Cockrel Jr., executive director. “These included a mortgage delinquency rate over 40 percent among our homeowners, a large number of empty homes in our portfolio, and ReStores that had not been profitable.”
Habitat Detroit has worked to modify homeowner loans and eliminate nonessential positions, a statement announcing the restructuring said. Its two resale stores are on Mack Avenue near Cadieux on the east side and Greenfield at Interstate 96 on the west side.
“While the organization has seen some improvement in ReStore revenues and reduced the delinquency rate, Habitat Detroit has also been hit hard by the loss of government funding and a decline in corporate sponsorships,” the statement said. “As a result, the organization has had to take a long hard look at the current business model.”
The goal, the statement said, “is to see staff levels increase by early spring, open a new ReStore location and reorganize the agency to provide a higher level of service pursuant to our mission to provide strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.”
Cockrel could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Habitat for Humanity is an international, nonprofit, Christian-based organization, according to its website. Founded in 1977, its goal is to provide low-income families with affordable housing. Habitat Detroit is entering its 31st year. In 1986, the group bought its first three houses for $1 apiece and began renovating them, the website said. A family moved into the first Habitat Detroit renovated home the following year.