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Updated 2:30 PM April 12, 2006
 

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'Little Big House' to rise for hurricane evacuees

The U-M Alumni Association, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, will construct a home this spring called the Little Big House for a family that was forced to relocate after hurricanes Wilma, Rita and Katrina.

"So many alumni and friends were affected by the hurricanes, and thousands are still without adequate housing and funds to rebuild," says association President Steve Grafton. "We wanted to do something to bring a little Michigan spirit to the South."

Dallas was selected as the home site because the most devastated areas of the Gulf Coast are not yet prepared for rebuilding and there is desperate need for housing for families displaced to Texas. There also is an active alumni club in the Dallas area.

Alumni, friends, students and University staff can participate in the Little Big House project in a variety of ways:

• The Alumni Association is raising $150,000 to cover the costs of the project and is accepting donations online at www.umalumni.com/littlebighouse.

• Volunteers are needed in Ann Arbor May 15-21 to construct frames and wall sets for the Little Big House, as well as other homes in southeastern Michigan. The Alumni Association and Habitat for Humanity's Detroit affiliate will oversee the build taking place on Washington Street, between Thayer and Fletcher streets, outside of the Alumni Center. Space is limited and volunteers must register online to participate.

• Volunteers also can travel to Dallas to work side-by-side with the Alumni Association and the Habitat for Humanity Dallas affiliate to construct the Little Big House. Work will take place June 12-17 in Dallas' Southeast Oak Cliff neighborhood. The Alumni Association will provide assistance in making travel arrangements to Dallas.

"Alumni, friends, students and University staff can all enjoy the camaraderie of working together on a worthwhile project, while making a difference in the lives of one family," says Grafton, whose mother lives in one of the damaged areas of Mississippi. "This generosity has always been the way of the leaders and best."

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