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Catholic Northwest Progress
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December 12, 1947     Catholic Northwest Progress
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December 12, 1947
 

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The CATHOLIC NORTHWEST PROGRESS Page Fifteen Homes For Veterans, Inc. When the soldiers and sailors came home from the war, there was much talk about providing homes for them. But today the married veteran, for the most part, is without a suitable home, largely be- cause the homes offered him are inadequate and because he cnnot pay the prices demanded. In Detroit a gxoup of ex-Gl's seem to have the problem whipped. By D. J. CORRIGAN / ACK in 1941, when BiN and Gen- evieve were_ married in Detroit, their three room apartment seemed ample enough for their need But after a year a newcomer ar- rived, to be baptized Mary Margaret, and their quarters suddenly seemed crow- ded. Four weeks later Bill was in the army and then for three years and more his young wife and child kept a lonely vigil in the apartment. For two of those years Bill was in various camps in the United States, never too distant, however, for fleeting visits to his little family. Then on a New Year's Day the_second child, to be called Donnie, arrived, and Bill barely got leave to fly from New York for a look at his new- born son before sailing overseas. There followed service in Europe and later in the South Pacific. Finally the war ended and Bill was at last able to come home to his happy wife and romp- ing children. He was tired and nervous, but he had to get back .to his job and, most of all, he had to find some way- of moving his growing family out of the crowded apartment. For almost two years Bill sought a home, but the prices were always far be- .yond his means. One day, however, his dyes lighted on an advertisement in a Detroit newspaper: 8ome idealistic and ehring ex-GI's had conceived the notion that veterans might build their own homes and was appealing to former comrades in arms to join him in the venture. That mainly is why Bill today, out in East Detroit, along with 46 other veterans, is happily spending toilsome week-ends and holidays (the only free ,time they have from their regular jobs) construct- ing houses iri the way they want them. -nB Homes Cost $5,500 That the project is well worth the sacrifice is evident from the fact that ,each finished house at market values today will be worth $12,000 to $15,000, whereas carefully figured estimates as- mire these boys that in this cooperative " venture their homes will cost-them only $5,500. The project is known as Homes for Veterans, Incorporated. Homes for Vet.s, Inc., is the brain child of Iuis W. Vierling, a carpenter by trade but more properly an instructor at Cass Technical High School, Detroit. Like Bili above (who, by the way, is really one of the veterans in the project) Mr. Vierling came back from the war to discover sometime later that he was going to become a father. 'I then decided," he told me this past mummer, "that we had to get out of apartment and find a home. But where to get it? I didn't have the money for the price of a new home today and if I did, I would not have wanted what they were putting into them. The Veter- ans Administration was no help. "Finely in desperat|on I went to some of the Building Supply Companies, who told me that they would deliver the ma- terials for me to build my own home, if I could pay for tben This set me thinking. I couldn't VerT well build a house by myseff, but if I could get a crowd of vets together and if we could work during our spare time, we might be able to secure necessary financing end complete the homes. So I began to speak my thoughts to other veterans: They Had [)lfficulties "In no time we had" 23 men coming to the meetings. My .original plan was to make it completely democratic, but there were so many opinions and there was so much disagreement that our membership dwindled down to three. But we stuck together and all through the past winter in meetings here at the apartment we worked out details of the plan. An important thing that we decided was to accept only members who would agree to our program and fit in with our plan o action. Of course, they had to be veterans. -Then we .advertised in the pap- ers for candidates to apply." That Louis Vlerling and his associ- ates did a marvelous job of outlining the venture is proved by the fact that later on, after their incorporation as a group, banking officials took one look at their plan and agreed to finance them to the extent of at least $250,000. Wholesome, too, it is to note that many persons and companies, out of sym- pathy for their needs, have pitched in to assist them in their endeavor. A law- yer, for a nominal sum, has helped them draw" up documents and smooth out legal technicalities. Various civic officials, es- pecially in East Detroit, have granted them privileges. Union officers, when approached, were for the most part sym- pathetic although they feared giving the cooperative-any open encouragement. Priest Helped "At first," recounts Mr. Vierling, "I had a hard time getting the officials of East Detroit interested, mainly, I believe, because they didn't think that we would go through with the project. Then I went to see Father Huber, of St. MoBica parish. He, too, did not take much in- terest until I mentioned the fact that there were already  more than ninety children involved. Thccn he and Dr. Swen- son, the Lutheran minister, went to the mayor and we have had the kindest cooperation ever since." So much for the history of the project; now for its details. Homes for Veterans is incorporated under the laws of Michi- gan, and its governing Board consists of five men, of which Mr. Vierling is presi- dent. This board is charged with the task of supervising the work, taking care of finances, ordering mateVrals, admitting new candidates, and in general of smooth- ing out the many obstacles that are bound to appear in a large project of this kind.  But any major change in the plan of work or construction of the houses is submitted to the vote of'the entire mem- bership. Sign Up for Two Years of Work By late summer there were 38 vet- erans in the project, but more were in process of being interviewed and tried, since the full membership will be 47. Each candidate and wife must appear before the Board and agree to all con- ditions, not the least being the fact that over week-ends the wife will have to give up the company of her husband, as he is bound to put in ten hours of labor each Saturday, Sunday and holiday for two years. Before a candidate is fully accepted, he must spend a probationary period try- ing out the work. Another of the provisions is that fam- Ilies must not-come out to visit during working hours. The boys really mean to get this job done, for they have made it a rule that if one misses work without a valid excuse, he will be fined to the tune of $10 an hour. As far as possible only men with a trade that will contribute to house build- ing are admitted. When the writer last viewed the project, all the necessary skills were represented with the excep- tion of plastering. However, some of the boys have taken on as apprentices to the more e#perienced carpenters and brick- layers, and so the work goes steadily on. Financing System The financing system of the project is interesting. Once a veteran becomes a member, he contributes $600 imme- diately to the fund. Thereafter his dues amount to $10 a month. Later on, should he pull out of the venture for any reason, all the money that he contributed will be refunded to him. For the labor that he has given, however, he must agree to exact no claim. Incidentally, all the money that he puts into the venture, and he can contribute more should he wisJa, will eventually be put to his credit on the mortgage attached to his house. Banking officials had stipulated in their agreement that, as evidence of good faith, the organization from their own funds proceed to the roughing in of the first five houses and that then the banks would etake over the financing. As each house nears completion, it xll be awarded by lot to one of the veterans, who, however, xqll not receive the mortgage deed until all the home are completed. While living in the new houses, they will pay rent to the co* operative, but this will in the long run be put to their account in payment for the house. Afterwards, when the entire project is finished, plans call for a rea- sonable rate of interest and monthly pay- ments until all own their homes. The cooperative was fortunate in its acquisition of land. After combing the city of Detroit and its environs, the of- ficers approached the owner of a tract of fifty lots, which the veterans have since divided into the 47 they need for their homes. These are large and Will be easily supplied with water, gas, elec- tricity and sewerage. Although in 1929 this subdivision was valued at $1,500 a lot, the oxmer agreed to sell to them for $350 each. With funds on hand the cor- poration bought five lots and secured an option on the" remainder. Hard Work The actual work of construction got under way July 4, 1947, and by Sep- tember the boys had five houses nearing completion" and the basements dug for / ten more. They are sure that with experience they will get the work done more rapidly and that in two years, barring unforeseen difficulties, they will finish the job. One of their first acts was the raising of a flag-pole and, while they labor, the stars and stripes float overhead, well symbo- lizing the American and Christian spirit with which they have entered into this difficult project. Naturally it is a pretty hard pull for Christmas In Berlin OME veterans who have the good fortune to be at home this Christmas may find their thoughts straying back to Christmas last year in Berlin. If so, they will recall the special greeting of His Eminence Konrad Cardinal yon Preysing, Bishop of Berlin, who was cele- brant of the American Military Mass at Christmas. "ChristTnas means more than Just the exchange of gifts and a surcease from bne's daily labor," read the message, "to you American men and women" from the German Cardinal. "Christmas is Christ--the Christ of justice and of char- ity, of freedom and peace and love. The Joy of Christmas is one that wars cannot kill, for it is the Joy of the soul that can- not die. "Poverty and suffering cannot quench the joy of Christmas, for it is a jey no earthly wealth can give. Time cannot wither Christmas, for it belongs to eter- nity. The world cannot shatter it, for it is a union with the Christ Child who has overcome the world. "Unless God is paramount as leader of the world, then again and again, as the waves upon the shore, catastrophe must follow catastrophe. Only when men lay aside greed, hatred, pride and the tyranny of evil passions, to travel again the road that began at Bethlehem, will the star of Christmas lace illuminate the world. "christmas is the birthday'of freedom, for it is only by following Christ that we become free." the boys, what with overtired muscles and week-ends away from their growing families, from whom they were separat- ed so much during the war. But watch- ing them at work, one cannot but notice the spirit of hope and good fellowship that pervades their every effort. As Louis Vierling remarked: "None of us could afford a home in any other way. And we," are building these homes for ourselves and dea ones, in the way we like to see homes built, with fully drained founda- tions, fireproofing, insulation and a lot of other thlngs." Build Good Homes The "lot of other things" include a wall thirteen inches thick where ordinarily it is nine, with an abundance of cabinet space and electrical fixtures and other conveniences just as they decide that they should be. Best of all, each home is being con- _ structed to house a-family, with large living rooms on the first floor and ample bedroom space above. There xvill be bath and vanity rooms upstairs and toilet "rooms downstairs, with plenty of recrea- tional space in full basements. A garage with driveway is to be con- structed near the rear corher of each house. There will also be yard space galore for the numerous children of the projectj where they can play in air that is uncontaminated by the smoke and dust of the city. Although each house is constructed along the same general plan, once a veteran has drawn his house he can de- cide on minor variations. For instance be can choose the color of his brick and shingles, wood or composition material for the upper front, a hall-way or not at the entrance, and various other in- terior alterations. Likewise, later on he can easily add either porches or rooms to the rear of the building. Included in the estimated cost of each new house is heating, kitchen stove, re- frigerator and laundry. Plans are also on foot for a cooperative buyinFa, of all needed furniture for the project, an arrangement that would on- siderably decrease the cost of furnishing these .dwellings. Building Community Spirit But possibly one of the most valuable assets of the community to be is the promise of the real friendship and neigh- borliness that is developing out of their toil and sweat. Each man and his family have been through the same terrible ex- perience of war and now they are mak- ing the same sacrifices for a home they can call their own. As Bill put it: "They are" a grand bunch of fellows to work with." An incident occurred during August to bear out this point. One Sunday after- noon they had the first drawing for the new homes. Naturally there was great excitement and all the boys with their wives and little ones and friends were present. To the tune of music Veterans' Organizations raised the flag and the lo- cal Catholic pastor opened and closed the ceremonies with prayer. (Incidentally, more than 80 per cent of the boys are Catholic.) After various speeches, the tense moment for the drawing arrived. With a Lutheran minister holding the bowl of names in capsules and the Cath- olic priest with rolled up sleeves doing the drawing, the names of B. F. Morgan and William Stackpole were announced. There was a round of applause and the lucky boys were called to the microphone. Then there was silence followed by wild hand clapping when Stackpole an- nounced: "I am turning my chance over to my buddy Tony Mucci, who is in far greater need of a home right now than I am." It developed that Tony and his family were living in a one room apartment in a garret, the only housing that he had hitherto been able to procure, while the Staekpoles xvith their four children still had the good fortune to be living in a flat. The other winner, Morgan, turned his house over to John A. Roszka, who was in process of being evicted! Such is the spirit that is bound to make this cooperative housing project a tgucceflS. The CATHOLIC NORTHWEST PROGRESS Page Fifteen Homes For Veterans, Inc. When the soldiers and sailors came home from the war, there was much talk about providing homes for them. But today the married veteran, for the most part, is without a suitable home, largely be- cause the homes offered him are inadequate and because he cnnot pay the prices demanded. In Detroit a gxoup of ex-Gl's seem to have the problem whipped. By D. J. CORRIGAN / ACK in 1941, when BiN and Gen- evieve were_ married in Detroit, their three room apartment seemed ample enough for their need But after a year a newcomer ar- rived, to be baptized Mary Margaret, and their quarters suddenly seemed crow- ded. Four weeks later Bill was in the army and then for three years and more his young wife and child kept a lonely vigil in the apartment. For two of those years Bill was in various camps in the United States, never too distant, however, for fleeting visits to his little family. Then on a New Year's Day the_second child, to be called Donnie, arrived, and Bill barely got leave to fly from New York for a look at his new- born son before sailing overseas. There followed service in Europe and later in the South Pacific. Finally the war ended and Bill was at last able to come home to his happy wife and romp- ing children. He was tired and nervous, but he had to get back .to his job and, most of all, he had to find some way- of moving his growing family out of the crowded apartment. For almost two years Bill sought a home, but the prices were always far be- .yond his means. One day, however, his dyes lighted on an advertisement in a Detroit newspaper: 8ome idealistic and ehring ex-GI's had conceived the notion that veterans might build their own homes and was appealing to former comrades in arms to join him in the venture. That mainly is why Bill today, out in East Detroit, along with 46 other veterans, is happily spending toilsome week-ends and holidays (the only free ,time they have from their regular jobs) construct- ing houses iri the way they want them. -nB Homes Cost $5,500 That the project is well worth the sacrifice is evident from the fact that ,each finished house at market values today will be worth $12,000 to $15,000, whereas carefully figured estimates as- mire these boys that in this cooperative " venture their homes will cost-them only $5,500. The project is known as Homes for Veterans, Incorporated. Homes for Vet.s, Inc., is the brain child of Iuis W. Vierling, a carpenter by trade but more properly an instructor at Cass Technical High School, Detroit. Like Bili above (who, by the way, is really one of the veterans in the project) Mr. Vierling came back from the war to discover sometime later that he was going to become a father. 'I then decided," he told me this past mummer, "that we had to get out of apartment and find a home. But where to get it? I didn't have the money for the price of a new home today and if I did, I would not have wanted what they were putting into them. The Veter- ans Administration was no help. "Finely in desperat|on I went to some of the Building Supply Companies, who told me that they would deliver the ma- terials for me to build my own home, if I could pay for tben This set me thinking. I couldn't VerT well build a house by myseff, but if I could get a crowd of vets together and if we could work during our spare time, we might be able to secure necessary financing end complete the homes. So I began to speak my thoughts to other veterans: They Had [)lfficulties "In no time we had" 23 men coming to the meetings. My .original plan was to make it completely democratic, but there were so many opinions and there was so much disagreement that our membership dwindled down to three. But we stuck together and all through the past winter in meetings here at the apartment we worked out details of the plan. An important thing that we decided was to accept only members who would agree to our program and fit in with our plan o action. Of course, they had to be veterans. -Then we .advertised in the pap- ers for candidates to apply." That Louis Vlerling and his associ- ates did a marvelous job of outlining the venture is proved by the fact that later on, after their incorporation as a group, banking officials took one look at their plan and agreed to finance them to the extent of at least $250,000. Wholesome, too, it is to note that many persons and companies, out of sym- pathy for their needs, have pitched in to assist them in their endeavor. A law- yer, for a nominal sum, has helped them draw" up documents and smooth out legal technicalities. Various civic officials, es- pecially in East Detroit, have granted them privileges. Union officers, when approached, were for the most part sym- pathetic although they feared giving the cooperative-any open encouragement. Priest Helped "At first," recounts Mr. Vierling, "I had a hard time getting the officials of East Detroit interested, mainly, I believe, because they didn't think that we would go through with the project. Then I went to see Father Huber, of St. MoBica parish. He, too, did not take much in- terest until I mentioned the fact that there were already  more than ninety children involved. Thccn he and Dr. Swen- son, the Lutheran minister, went to the mayor and we have had the kindest cooperation ever since." So much for the history of the project; now for its details. Homes for Veterans is incorporated under the laws of Michi- gan, and its governing Board consists of five men, of which Mr. Vierling is presi- dent. This board is charged with the task of supervising the work, taking care of finances, ordering mateVrals, admitting new candidates, and in general of smooth- ing out the many obstacles that are bound to appear in a large project of this kind.  But any major change in the plan of work or construction of the houses is submitted to the vote of'the entire mem- bership. Sign Up for Two Years of Work By late summer there were 38 vet- erans in the project, but more were in process of being interviewed and tried, since the full membership will be 47. Each candidate and wife must appear before the Board and agree to all con- ditions, not the least being the fact that over week-ends the wife will have to give up the company of her husband, as he is bound to put in ten hours of labor each Saturday, Sunday and holiday for two years. Before a candidate is fully accepted, he must spend a probationary period try- ing out the work. Another of the provisions is that fam- Ilies must not-come out to visit during working hours. The boys really mean to get this job done, for they have made it a rule that if one misses work without a valid excuse, he will be fined to the tune of $10 an hour. As far as possible only men with a trade that will contribute to house build- ing are admitted. When the writer last viewed the project, all the necessary skills were represented with the excep- tion of plastering. However, some of the boys have taken on as apprentices to the more e#perienced carpenters and brick- layers, and so the work goes steadily on. Financing System The financing system of the project is interesting. Once a veteran becomes a member, he contributes $600 imme- diately to the fund. Thereafter his dues amount to $10 a month. Later on, should he pull out of the venture for any reason, all the money that he contributed will be refunded to him. For the labor that he has given, however, he must agree to exact no claim. Incidentally, all the money that he puts into the venture, and he can contribute more should he wisJa, will eventually be put to his credit on the mortgage attached to his house. Banking officials had stipulated in their agreement that, as evidence of good faith, the organization from their own funds proceed to the roughing in of the first five houses and that then the banks would etake over the financing. As each house nears completion, it xll be awarded by lot to one of the veterans, who, however, xqll not receive the mortgage deed until all the home are completed. While living in the new houses, they will pay rent to the co* operative, but this will in the long run be put to their account in payment for the house. Afterwards, when the entire project is finished, plans call for a rea- sonable rate of interest and monthly pay- ments until all own their homes. The cooperative was fortunate in its acquisition of land. After combing the city of Detroit and its environs, the of- ficers approached the owner of a tract of fifty lots, which the veterans have since divided into the 47 they need for their homes. These are large and Will be easily supplied with water, gas, elec- tricity and sewerage. Although in 1929 this subdivision was valued at $1,500 a lot, the oxmer agreed to sell to them for $350 each. With funds on hand the cor- poration bought five lots and secured an option on the" remainder. Hard Work The actual work of construction got under way July 4, 1947, and by Sep- tember the boys had five houses nearing completion" and the basements dug for / ten more. They are sure that with experience they will get the work done more rapidly and that in two years, barring unforeseen difficulties, they will finish the job. One of their first acts was the raising of a flag-pole and, while they labor, the stars and stripes float overhead, well symbo- lizing the American and Christian spirit with which they have entered into this difficult project. Naturally it is a pretty hard pull for Christmas In Berlin OME veterans who have the good fortune to be at home this Christmas may find their thoughts straying back to Christmas last year in Berlin. If so, they will recall the special greeting of His Eminence Konrad Cardinal yon Preysing, Bishop of Berlin, who was cele- brant of the American Military Mass at Christmas. "ChristTnas means more than Just the exchange of gifts and a surcease from bne's daily labor," read the message, "to you American men and women" from the German Cardinal. "Christmas is Christ--the Christ of justice and of char- ity, of freedom and peace and love. The Joy of Christmas is one that wars cannot kill, for it is the Joy of the soul that can- not die. "Poverty and suffering cannot quench the joy of Christmas, for it is a jey no earthly wealth can give. Time cannot wither Christmas, for it belongs to eter- nity. The world cannot shatter it, for it is a union with the Christ Child who has overcome the world. "Unless God is paramount as leader of the world, then again and again, as the waves upon the shore, catastrophe must follow catastrophe. Only when men lay aside greed, hatred, pride and the tyranny of evil passions, to travel again the road that began at Bethlehem, will the star of Christmas lace illuminate the world. "christmas is the birthday'of freedom, for it is only by following Christ that we become free." the boys, what with overtired muscles and week-ends away from their growing families, from whom they were separat- ed so much during the war. But watch- ing them at work, one cannot but notice the spirit of hope and good fellowship that pervades their every effort. As Louis Vierling remarked: "None of us could afford a home in any other way. And we," are building these homes for ourselves and dea ones, in the way we like to see homes built, with fully drained founda- tions, fireproofing, insulation and a lot of other thlngs." Build Good Homes The "lot of other things" include a wall thirteen inches thick where ordinarily it is nine, with an abundance of cabinet space and electrical fixtures and other conveniences just as they decide that they should be. Best of all, each home is being con- _ structed to house a-family, with large living rooms on the first floor and ample bedroom space above. There xvill be bath and vanity rooms upstairs and toilet "rooms downstairs, with plenty of recrea- tional space in full basements. A garage with driveway is to be con- structed near the rear corher of each house. There will also be yard space galore for the numerous children of the projectj where they can play in air that is uncontaminated by the smoke and dust of the city. Although each house is constructed along the same general plan, once a veteran has drawn his house he can de- cide on minor variations. For instance be can choose the color of his brick and shingles, wood or composition material for the upper front, a hall-way or not at the entrance, and various other in- terior alterations. Likewise, later on he can easily add either porches or rooms to the rear of the building. Included in the estimated cost of each new house is heating, kitchen stove, re- frigerator and laundry. Plans are also on foot for a cooperative buyinFa, of all needed furniture for the project, an arrangement that would on- siderably decrease the cost of furnishing these .dwellings. Building Community Spirit But possibly one of the most valuable assets of the community to be is the promise of the real friendship and neigh- borliness that is developing out of their toil and sweat. Each man and his family have been through the same terrible ex- perience of war and now they are mak- ing the same sacrifices for a home they can call their own. As Bill put it: "They are" a grand bunch of fellows to work with." An incident occurred during August to bear out this point. One Sunday after- noon they had the first drawing for the new homes. Naturally there was great excitement and all the boys with their wives and little ones and friends were present. To the tune of music Veterans' Organizations raised the flag and the lo- cal Catholic pastor opened and closed the ceremonies with prayer. (Incidentally, more than 80 per cent of the boys are Catholic.) After various speeches, the tense moment for the drawing arrived. With a Lutheran minister holding the bowl of names in capsules and the Cath- olic priest with rolled up sleeves doing the drawing, the names of B. F. Morgan and William Stackpole were announced. There was a round of applause and the lucky boys were called to the microphone. Then there was silence followed by wild hand clapping when Stackpole an- nounced: "I am turning my chance over to my buddy Tony Mucci, who is in far greater need of a home right now than I am." It developed that Tony and his family were living in a one room apartment in a garret, the only housing that he had hitherto been able to procure, while the Staekpoles xvith their four children still had the good fortune to be living in a flat. The other winner, Morgan, turned his house over to John A. Roszka, who was in process of being evicted! Such is the spirit that is bound to make this cooperative housing project a tgucceflS.