Every time she pulls into the driveway of her three-bedroom ranch-style home on Detroit's east side, Beatrice Coleman says she still can't believe it.

"Sometimes I just sit here and look and say to myself, 'This is my house,' " Coleman, 55, said. "It's a good feeling."

Her dream of a home for her family began with the annual Habitat for Humanity Detroit Homeownership Fair, where the nonprofit group got the ball rolling. On Wednesday, the group is to host its annual fair at Samaritan Center, 5555 Conner in Detroit.

Habitat for Humanity Detroit is looking to make 20 families homeowners this year, said Traci Odom, family services director. Even if a person has gone through foreclosure, depending on the circumstances, that would not necessarily disqualify him or her from getting a Habitat home, Odom said.

"If it's due to predatory lending, we may be able to work with them," she said.
Twenty homes worth $75,000 to $85,000 will be constructed on Wayburn, Maryland and Lakepointe in the Morningside neighborhood, roughly within a 15-block radius of Alter Road between Warren and Mack, Odom said.

U-Snap-Bac Housing Corp. and Habitat's Detroit chapter are building the homes as part of a joint venture that plans to erect 100 homes in the area, Odom said. Applicants will be required to spend 250 to 400 hours building the homes with volunteers in order to receive a 0% interest mortgage.

The mortgage payments, which include insurance and taxes, range from $600 to $650 a month, Odom said. The area is within a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone, which allows for a 15-year tax break.

Coleman, who moved into her home with her grandson in December 2007, said she's pleased with how Habitat has helped to revitalize the neighborhood.

"I'm just so grateful for Habitat." Coleman said.

Additional Facts
What: Habitat for Humanity Detroit Homeownership Fair
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Samaritan Center cafeteria, 5555 Conner, Detroit
Some qualifications: Prospective participants must have a minimum household income of $22,000 a year, no bankruptcies discharged within the past two years, and must not have owned a home within the last year.
What to bring: Tri-merged credit report; copy of current driver's license or state ID; W-2s and federal tax returns (1040) for 2006, 2007 and 2008, and a $25 money order payable to Habitat for Humanity.


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