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Pastor Lifts Detroit Neighborhood, Rebuilding City Blocks One Home At A Time

Pastor Lifts Detroit Neighborhood, Rebuilding City Blocks One Home At A Time

Arric Wilkerson, pastor of Up from the World Ministries on Puritan, wanted to do something to give back a Detroit neighborhood. So he’s rebuilding it.  Credit: Howard Hanna
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Arric Wilkerson, pastor of Up from the World Ministries on Puritan, decided he wanted to do something to give back a Detroit neighborhood. So he’s rebuilding the neighborhood, one home at a time. 

Members of Up From the World Ministries have been rehabbing and occupying a two square block collection of houses.

“Because we were driving through this community on a daily basis, we saw these homes that were abandoned and some of them were empty and some of them had squatters in them…” Pastor Wilkerson told the Detroit News. “We started renovating them one at a time.”

So far, the church has bought and fixed up nearly 25 homes, at a cost of about $25,000 each for the renovations. Over the last 10 years, church members have also rehabbed 15 lots in a two-block area.

As an incentive to get its members to move into the rehabbed homes, the ministry set the rents for the homes at $500 a month as an incentive. 

“We give them homes that have been renovated from the top to the bottom,” Wilkerson said. “They’re really nice homes. It’s not like we’re just throwing them together. We’re putting them together really nicely.”


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According to the pastor, no government financial incentives.

“Instead of taking the money to the bank every Monday morning, we would bring it to the block…” he said. “It really wasn’t about making money. It was about restoring this community.”

“It’s transformed the neighborhood,” said Karla Marshall, manager of economic development and community partners for the Land Bank. “This is a very large footprint. This is how we get the neighborhoods transformed.

It all started in 2010, with the first home. Though the pastor buys the home from private individuals, some of the homes were abandoned and are severely neglected.

“Wilkerson said he’s nearly completed with the work he set out to do. He said he expects the house they’re working on to be finished next month for a family already waiting to move in. He also has plans in summer 2021 to create a park on Stoepel, which is mostly lots,” Detroit News reported. 

“When we drive through, we’re not looking at that blight like we were before, so all the drugs are gone, all of the activity that comes with distributing drugs, all that’s gone from these two blocks,” he said. “It turned out to be a worthwhile venture.”