June 2020
All are Welcome at Our Door
Photo by Alex
One of the reasons I have always felt particularly well-suited to my position as President and CEO at Macomb County Habitat for Humanity is because of the wealth of cultural and racial diversity that has infused my career and personal life.

Having worked in a soup kitchen, a food bank, and for the Michigan AIDS Coalition, I have had the honor of serving and working side-by-side with people who were richly diverse in every arena. From board members to staff, from donors to volunteers, the people who lifted me up and allowed my teams to serve them have been both young, more seasoned; wealthy, just starting out; African American, Hispanic, Hmong, Caucasian; straight, gay and transgender. Some have been physically and mentally challenged while many are very healthy and fit. Large groups have been Christians and others have had a variety of religious and cultural beliefs that were different from my own.

That very diverse mindset was one that I brought to Habitat nine years ago. It was an attractive quality to the board team that interviewed me, and I hoped to find ways to impart that knowledge in a respectful manner as the years passed.

For the most part, what I found at Macomb Habitat was an open-minded group of board members who embraced diversity. One of those members was very key in changing who we served when it came to partner families. In our past, we provided affordable housing opportunities to people who “lived or worked” in Macomb County. Because of our name and the territory we serve, that must have made sense to the early crafters of our mission. However, once I mentioned Fair Housing Laws, and a desire to work with everyone, one board member and attorney, made it very clear that ALL people from ALL counties would be welcome at our door.

Similarly, I feel that most staff were very open to embracing partner families who were diverse. My favorite partner family was a wheelchair-dependent young man whose adopted mother had passed, and he was caring for a quadriplegic adopted brother. We welcomed him into our program and began to plan for a home with ramps and a first-floor laundry room! Sadly, that young man died suddenly in his sleep, and the brother was taken to a nursing home to live. The whole story breaks my heart but reminds me of how open we were to serving this very unique man who is certainly now at “home” with God.

Improving diversity has been important to our board and staff. Just this past year, PNC generously paid for a Diversity Training Day that exposed our learned biases and beliefs. It taught us how to leave those beliefs at home and enter work with a true desire to treat everyone equally! Everyone felt that our time together, talking about how we arrived at our beliefs, was invaluable. It was a memorable day for all!

And yet, after all of those changes, I feel we need more training. Though I believe we have been more conscious of becoming an inclusive non-profit, I think we can do more.

This year, I am asking the leadership team to help the staff to be more sensitive to anyone who seems different than they are. I am encouraging them to read a few books such as Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad.

I’m asking them to have a diversity luncheon program four times a year to try new foods and discuss cultural differences.

But most of all, I’m requiring that we more proactively find ways to serve marginalized communities and invite them to become homeowners in Macomb County! It’s time to seek partner families whose heads are covered and whose garbs look more like gowns than jeans. It’s past time to help secure families who are legal asylees, immigrants and refugees. It is way past time to change the diversity in the neighborhoods where we build and rehab. And we must ardently seek and serve men, women, and children who have disabilities we can easily see and those we cannot see at all!

Though I have been trained and have been touched by thousands of people who look very different from me, I have always known that I have much more to learn before I can be the best leader possible. In my heart I know that all of us can do better at treating everyone equally and with respect. And at the front of that line is me!

If you have an idea on how we can be better or act more "just" - call me. In the meantime, know that our doors will be open to everyone!

With every best wish,

Helen Hicks
President and CEO
Homes, Communities, Hope + You
Home has become everything to us. But for so many in our community, having a safe affordable home is a critical challenge, and we need your help to support them! Now more than ever, there is an urgency to keep building and repairing homes for Macomb County residents, to support homeowners who have been dramatically impacted by this pandemic, to find strength in our communities, and to hold on to the hope of a brighter future for all. From your homes, for our community, and with hope, your gift today will make a positive impact in the lives of local families for generations to come.
The ReStore is now VIRTUAL!!
The Macomb County ReStores are now online! Browse a multitude of popular products from the comfort and safety of your own home. Pay securely via the web, and then pick up your items from the Shelby ReStore Tuesday through Friday 10:30 am - 5:00 pm and Saturday 10:30 am - 4:00 pm. The Shelby ReStore is located at 46660 Van Dyke in Shelby Township, between 21 Mile and Hall Road. Use the website contact form or call (586) 263-1540 with any questions.
Homeownership is Key to Strong Communities
June is National Homeownership month, and we’re shining a light on the benefits homeownership brings to families. At Macomb County Habitat, we have been helping families build and buy their own homes for over 27 years — we know that homeowners have better health outcomes, are more involved in their community, and that their children do better in school. All of this is because of the peace of mind and independence that a safe, stable home brings.
Ready to get back to Volunteering with Us?
We miss you, too! We are currently in the process of implementing new safety protocols on our construction sites and in our ReStores so that we can welcome our wonderful volunteers back to help us continue building homes in Macomb County. The well-being of our staff, volunteers, and homeowners are of the utmost importance.
As guidelines change during the pandemic locally and statewide, we plan to reopen construction sites to volunteers on Saturday, June 13 th for our Faith Build in Roseville , and other projects as the summer unfolds.

Calling all church groups to help us work on the Faith Build. Ramping up Critical Home Repairs will take a bit as there are more detailed protocols as we work on owner-occupied homes.

Check the Volunteer Calendar periodically to see the latest news and updates. Have a group interested in helping? Contact Dave Tirsell to see how we can fit you in. Thank you for your continued support of Habitat! We can’t do it without you.
Cars for Homes
Donate a vehicle to Habitat for Humanity’s car donation program – Cars for Homes. Your generosity will support our work with local families.

  • All proceeds from your vehicle donation will support Habitat for Humanity and help local families here in Macomb County.

  • Your donation may qualify for a tax deduction.

It’s fast and easy. Learn more about how vehicle donations work  here!
What are Community Rewards?
Kroger Community Rewards makes fund-raising easy by donating to local organizations based on the shopping you do everyday. Once you link your card to an organization, all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card!