- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit project aims to renovate three vacant houses and give them to writers for free.

The Write A House project is open to writers including novelists, poets, playwrights and journalists, The Detroit News reported (http://bit.ly/1bZ76Z6 ). The group is raising money to support the effort and plans to begin accepting applications in the spring.

Co-founder Toby Barlow said the project’s Detroit location is a factor in interest since it kicked off in mid-December.

Writers selected will get a house that’s about 1,000 square feet with two bedrooms. Recipients should be ready to paint and help with other finishing touches. Writers selected must promise to stay for two years, and after that they may be given the deed.

“If you write and can prove it, you have a chance,” said Anna Clark, local freelance journalist and a board member.

Writers will be responsible for covering insurance and taxes, which organizers estimate will average less than $500 a month. Two of the houses were purchased for $1,000 each in a foreclosure auction, and the third was donated by Power House Productions.

Young Detroit Builders, a nonprofit that teaches building skills to young people, will help renovate the houses, which are within walking distance of each other.

“One of the houses had a squatter and another looked like maybe a family was just thrown out with no warning,” said Francis Grunow, a board member. “We found pictures and clothes left behind.”

The Write A House project plans to expand to more properties in the future if the first round works out.

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Online:

http://www.writeahouse.com

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Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/

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