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Harbor Habitat for Humanity has first rehab of vacant home

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” joked Erin Hudson with Harbor Habitat for Humanity. The organization finished their latest experiment in Benton Harbor.

Tuesday a bright, yellow home looks brand new at 1354 Agard Street.

Looks can be deceiving.

The home on Agard is a rehab of a vacant building, the first rehab Harbor Habitat has completed. “We’re trying to do whatever we can to make the dollars we have go as far as possible,” said Hudson.

Hudson said building on the home’s solid foundation saved the project about $20,000.

“It feels like a brand new home,” said Alica Isom, the new owner.

Isom said she was proud her home was the organization’s experiment. She thinks there is plenty of potential in the area. “I think it’s a good way to restore the history of Benton Harbor.”

“We thought we could make an impact on the community building from the ground up instead of tearing down,” said Hudson.

Not every rehab saves money. Hudson said some structures are more expensive to fix than build new.

Hudson said if another opportunity comes along, the group will jump on it. “That’s the goal,” she said. “To get to the point where we basically get more bang for the buck.”

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