Habitat for Humanity Detroit laying off staff, shutting ReStores

- Habitat for Humanity Detroit is restructuring its operations in a move that includes layoffs and closing both if its ReStore locations.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores offer donated and discounted furniture and appliances, and the money made helps build homes for low-income families. The stores were located on Greenfield Road, and Mack Avenue.

"Its really unfortunate. I know a lot of people come here for their own homes, so it's really sad and disheartening," says Robbie Green. She owns a property preservation company.

We're told Habitat for Humanity of Detroit will also be laying off some of its staff. The number of affected employees wasn't disclosed in Tuesday's announcement.

"I buy houses and we refurbubish them. We redo the electrical; we redo the plumbing; make them liveable for people and kind of rent them out for rent-to-own for a lesser price for people. Habitat kind of helped out with a lot of that," Green says.

The group sites a loss of government funding, fewer corporate sponsors and a mortgage delinquency rate of over 40 percent among its homeowners.

In a statement, Habitat for Humanity says, "Habitat Detroit has spent the past year addressing these issues by eliminating non essential positions, working to modify the loans of some homeowners, unfortuantely foreclosing on others, securing more donated items to reduce overhead expenses and outsourcing some business functions."

The statement went on to say, "As a result the organization has had to take a long hard look at the current business model."

"I think a lot of people are gonna suffer from this, unfortunately and honestly. I just hope they change their mind or  maybechange ownership or something, because it's good for the communtity," Green says.

The agency's board has approved a strategic action plan that includes short and long-term strategies for getting more resources, restructuring finances and assessing its current business model.

The affiliate of the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity International says it hopes to see staff levels increase by early spring, open a new ReStore location and reorganize the agency.

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