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HOTH searches for a new home
Homes on the Hill (HOTH) are beginning to look for new headquarters.
“We don’t know how long we’re going to be here,” Executive Director Steve Torsell told the Westland Area Commission (WAC) at the Sept. 21 meeting.
HOTH occupied space at the Westland Mall for the past several years as the struggling mall sought tenants as businesses moved out. HOTH is one of several non-profit agencies housed in space once occupied by commercial businesses.
In the meantime, HOTH has been purchasing and rehabbing houses on the Hilltop and in the Westland area. It continues to provide free workshops designed to help people learn to obtain funds to purchase homes.
However, HOTH is losing federal funding.
“We’re not in this budget,” Torsell said. “I guess we got caught up in that gridlock.”
He also said the housing market is slow right now and “if we don’t move houses, it is critical for us. We have a lot of money invested (in houses).”
In the Westland area, Torsell said HOTH has five houses for sale in the Lincoln Village.
HOTH acquired homes in other areas of the South-Western City School District, but “we can only go as far as funding sources will allow us to go.”
WAC president Linda Pitts asked Torsell how the organization has made a difference in the community.
“People who attend our counseling services and buy our houses are better able to stay in their homes,” he said. “We are noticing more stability in the neighborhoods.”
WAC members soon reverted to a much-discussed topic, trying to obtain a recreation center for the Westside.
“The city owes us a recreation center,” said Jim Kennedy.
The city owns land on the Westside and had considered building a center, but talks stalled when the city ran into a financial crunch.
The area has been promised a park with soccer field and a walking path on West Broad Street, but construction work has been held up while attempts continue on obtaining permits.
“We have to start communicating with the city so we can get what we want,” Pitts said, encouraging members to start attending council meetings.
Several members attended council meetings, but attendance dropped off as membership on the commission changed in the past couple of years.
Additionally, Shawn Thomas said some of his neighbors in Westchester have talked about the need for developing a weedy patch of ground in that area into a park, but added it is a divided issue right now.
“Even if we could get nothing more than a walking path and some benches,” Thomas said. “people think something should be done, but others are against it. We have to get the residents involved. The first place to start is the Westchester Block Watch.”
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