Muskegon students restoring vacant home to sell

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MUSKEGON, Mich. -- Scanning a freshly dry-walled room, Muskegon High School Seniors Jamea Fox and Andrea Reyna explained how they created the ceiling design.

"I can't wait to see the finished product," said Reyna. "When it's done I can be like, 'I did this ceiling.'"

Reyna and Fox are two of 15 students this year to participate in Community enCompass' home rehabilitation program in Muskegon.  Beginning this summer, they learned construction skills to restore a home, and now train volunteers to ready it for sale. They are paid through the DTE Energy Foundation.

This early 20th century craftsman style home they are restoring was vacant for years on the 1200 block of 4th Street. Now it's off the market and spoken for.

"It's basically a classroom," said Kimi George, rehab specialist with Community enCompass.

In its fifth year restoring typically vacant condemned homes for sale, George says Community enCompass rehabs involve hundreds of volunteers, local students and donated material.

"This is kind of the answer to a dream," said George.

"One of my coworkers and I had this idea, what would it be like to purchase a home and fund it with no strings attached through donations, private funding, so that we could have a classroom and provide training, hands on training, for our area youth."

It's a vacant home that's now off the market, gaining neighbors' attention and helping to kick-start careers.

"It just seemed fun you could learn new stuff," said Fox.

"If something ever got messed up in my own house I can probably help fix it. And when I get older and get ready to buy my own house, I won’t have to hire a whole bunch of people to do work that I already know how to do.”

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