There is no question that literary arts programs and initiatives can help strengthen and improve communities. Literary arts programs not only promote cultural diversity, but can also increase a person’s sense of belonging and attachment to the community in which they live.
Write A House is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to fostering a thriving literary community in the City of Detroit. If you are a writer who lives in Detroit, or if you desire to make Detroit your new home, Write A House wants to provide you with a house of your very own. And just in case you were wondering, this is not your typical writer’s residency program. If you are awarded residency, you will become the permanent owner of a mortgage-free home in Detroit.
Founded by Toby Barlow and Sarah F. Cox in 2012, Write A House was created with a 3-part mission. According to its project goals, Write A House “seeks to (1) educate the under-employed on carpentry and building skills, (2) use those skills to renovate Detroit city homes, and (3) award those homes to writers.”
By giving away homes, Write A House is able to support writers, provide vocational training to Detroit residents, and contribute to the stabilization of Detroit neighborhoods.
After awarding its first renovated home to poet Casey Rocheteau in 2014, Write A House is now accepting applications for the 2015 residency program. The house is located in a Detroit neighborhood known as “No Ham” or “Banglatown.” It is approximately seven miles from downtown and three miles from Palmer Park.
To be eligible for residency, you must be a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident with a valid Green Card. In addition to meeting certain income requirements, Write A House is seeking writers who will actively engage in the Detroit literary community.
If you are considering applying, it is very important for you to want to live in Detroit. The house must be your primary residence and you will be required to live there at least 75 percent of the time. There will be no mortgage payments, but you will be responsible for the maintenance, insurance and property taxes of the home.
If you meet all eligibility requirements, you can apply for residency by submitting a writing sample in one of three genres: Poetry, Nonfiction and Fiction.
Your writing sample can be brand new or previously published work. All writing samples will be evaluated via a blind judging process. Therefore, it is important that you do not include your name or any identifying information with your sample. The deadline to apply for residency is June 5, 2015.
Visit Write A House to learn more about the application process and to see photos of the house renovations. You can also follow the blog of last year’s winner, Casey Rocheteau, to read more about her life in Detroit. Rocheteau is very open about her experience with Write A House and provides great tips to applicants.