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Family finds home through My Habitat Clarkston work



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My Habitat Clarkston gathers with DJ and Kaleena Mefford’s family at their new home, which they bought through Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County. Photos provided by Your People LLC. (click for larger version)
March 13, 2013 - Working with My Habitat Clarkston, the Mefford family have a home.

"The simple fact of giving somebody a chance is so important," said Kaleena Mefford, who grew up in Clarkston, at a house blessing in their new home. "We are proud to be involved."

Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County and the Clarkston community worked for months to find a Clarkston property for the family, DJ and Kaleena Mefford and their two children, Bryce, 6, and Brina, 10 months old. A Clarkston house didn't become available, but they found one in Waterford.

Calvary Lutheran Evangelical Church Pastor Jonathan Heierman and Clarkston Community Church Pastor Daniel Whiting led the house blessing, March 5.

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The Clarkston community rallied around the family in an unprecedented way, said Kim Howard, Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County's manager of partnerships.

"This is the first time we've been able to pull together an entire community around a project," Howard said. "Every facet of the community came forward to make this happen."

My Habitat Clarkston includes Calvary Lutheran Evangelical Church, Clarkston Community Church, Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce, community groups and schools.

The committee secured a $30,000 donation and organized a benefit concert after Taste of Clarkston last year. My Habitat Clarkston is also putting together micro-grants to help more families, Howard said.

"This is a model partnership," she said. "What started with one house in Clarkston is going to carry forward farther into the community, not only in the form of total home rebuilds but also focusing on critical home repairs to make existing residences safer."

The couple's need, income, credit, consistent bill payment and willingness to put in sweat equity qualified them to buy an at-cost, no-profit home through Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County.

Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County has built or renovated homes for 165 families since 1996. The non-profit received nearly 700 applications in 2012.

"We often don't think we have anything to give," said Habitat's Director of Partnerships Brad Irwin. "We place so much emphasis on money, but it's people that make the world go round."

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