Braving the Heat for a Tiny Home Neighbor

July 16, 2018

DETROIT — As always, it was a team effort from the start.

One group assembled on Richton Street, another on Monterey. A third tackled the area near the John C. Lodge Service Drive.

For three hours on Saturday (July 14), more than 30 volunteers from A Time to Help weeded, weed-whacked, swept, shoveled, raked — and much more — to help beautify the area around Cass Community Social Services’ Tiny Homes neighborhood.

It was a robust effort on a hot and humid morning; the group consumed three cases of water by the end of the project. SAY Detroit founder Mitch Albom said he profoundly appreciated the work of the volunteers, especially under the circumstances.

SAY Detroit’s ATTH program has participated in volunteer activities at Cass Community for years, including the last two with projects to benefit the nonprofit’s Tiny Homes: In 2016, ATTH helped create the blueprint for the homes by taping measurements on the floor of Cass Community’s warehouse; in 2017, ATTH painted a tiny home and cleared an area of debris to prepare it for construction.

On Saturday, ATTH made it three in a row with a landscape project spearheaded by Sue Pethoud, Cass Community’s church and community relations liaison.

“Tiny Homes are for poor people, and it’s not just a temporary move, but a chance for economic mobility,”, said Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community.

Nearly a dozen volunteers who participated Saturday were ATTH first-timers, including Jane and Terry LaFlamme.

“I love this,’’ Jane LaFlamme said. “I love the camaraderie, that we’re making a difference. We’re trying to give back because we’ve been so blessed.”