Dear Supporters,

If you’ve been a close follower of Write A House since 2013, you may have noticed we did not give away a home in 2017. And if you’ve been an even closer follower, you may have noticed we did not even finish funding or giving away a home we promised to Detroit poet Nandi Comer in 2016. It’s been both our hardest and our most rewarding year, and I’d to talk about where we are now we reflect and look ahead to 2018.

The good news for 2017 is that individual giving is stronger than ever before. And while that may not have been enough to fund an entire house, it’s been an encouraging sign that our network still believes in improving the lives of writers. We raised almost $7,000 on Fundly and have a current Crowdrise page with over $4,000 (and growing!) In addition, about $2,000 more that came through Paypal Giving.

The other great news about 2017 is that we strengthened our team. Through the hard work of our talented event planner, Ali Moubarak, and the grassroots organizing skill of Francis Grunow, as well as the leadership and effort from the rest of the board we formed a team focused on problem solving, outreach, and story telling that is excited to take the lessons we learned this year and translate them into greater success in 2018. We’re super grateful as well to our first resident, Casey Rocheteau, for lending her insights to our board as the first resident turned homeowner to fill a position helping us organize and fundraise.

Through Fundly, Crowdrise, and Paypal combined, we are deeply grateful for the $13,000 that people just like you gave in amounts like $15, $25 or $50 towards our fourth home. While we still feel behind in our promise to award that residence, and while the pace of this year has been humbling, that’s no small feat and we could not have done that without you. Thanks to you all a vacant, boarded up home has been cleared of debris, given new steel doors, new windows, and is now prepped for electrical work for which permits will be pulled this week! Thank you thank you thank you!

Before 2017 ends, we would love to see that $13,000 from our amazing supporters grow into $20,000. That additional $7,000 will allow us to get this cold dark home wired up entirely with phase two of the electric work; we will also start rough plumbing for a new bathroom where the old one had to be almost entirely stripped away. If you’ve already given and now is not the best time but you can help spread the word that meaningful action we can use! Thank you everyone for doing your part, whether it feels like a little or a lot. These homes are huge undertakings but we feel that preserving the character and density of our neighborhoods remains as important as ever and with your help a creative and inspiring native Detroiter home can take a huge step forward.

Last night we met about our 2018 goals and are planning out how to improve the lives of writers in Detroit. It starts with completing our promise and looks ahead at helping the writing community thrive in other facets. As our second resident, Liana Aghajanian, wrote on our blog a year after moving to Detroit as a journalist that the city has taught her, “that stories are not simple, that in fact, they are very complicated, that they can hold both good things and bad things at the same time, and that’s perfectly ok.” We’re inspired by the idea of Detroiters writing their own complex stories and we’ll keep fostering and growing that community.

Read more about how Liana’s home changed her life in the Detroit News and learn more about donating here or  Learn more how we started from the New York Times. 

— Sarah F. Cox, Founder and Director