Building Community by Supporting Families

December 05, 2023

This is a story about a family and their new home.

Denzel and Danjetta and their five children — Danzel Jr., Katie, Ava, Ivan, and the youngest, Kamarie — will join us live at the radiothon on Thursday. They opened up their home to film this video, debuting for you first because you helped make it possible. The children, ranging in age from 8 to 15, all attend the SAY Detroit Play Center, just down the street from the new home they moved into in August as this year’s Working Homes / Working Families recipients.

Affordable housing and safe neighborhoods power stable families, healthy communities and engaged citizens.

As Danjetta says, it is “blessing after blessing after blessing.” They’d always “dreamed of home ownership, and worked hard to try to make it happen, but never thought it would happen like this.”

But this is also a story about a family that chased their dreams to Arizona a few years ago, hoping to settle there with family and find the home they couldn’t in Detroit. Jobs were lined up, housing was found. It wasn’t to be. Danzel’s job with a steel company caused health problems, which were only compounded after he was hit by a car. The recovery and physical therapy needed caused a strain they couldn’t have planned for.

Then, a new job opportunity for Danzel called them back to Detroit. A rent-and-repair housing offer, with the promised opportunity to buy in the future, was another lucky break. It turned out to be too good to be true.

This is a story about a working family who was misled, who tried to make the best out of a housing situation that became untenable, and a rental market that was just out of budget for a family of seven.

It’s an all-too-familiar account for too many in need of housing stability.

These are the challenges SAY Detroit works to overcome, one family, one home, and one neighborhood at a time. The Working Homes / Working Families initiative is strategically increasing investment in the Osborn neighborhood that surrounds SAY Play, rebuilt from the good bones of a once-abandoned recreation center.

We find abandoned houses — with good bones, too — in need of repair and a family to make it a home. We work with partners to refurbish and furnish houses, and more partners to rebuild parks and green spaces.

But we couldn’t continue to build and strengthen communities in Detroit, to provide pathways to success, without your help. Please join the radiothon, or make an early gift right now.

This home refurbishment was made possible through partnership with and support from GM, Humble Design and Lowe’s; BL Construction, LLC was hired to perform the repair work.

SAY Detroit’s commitment to housing includes: program services that address the housing crisis, blight and safety provide economically-disadvantaged families and other vulnerable populations with refurbished homes; partners with local organizations to beautify parks and build green spaces; and strengthens neighborhoods and communities through volunteerism.