The large front room of Micia and Cameron Smith’s house is scattered with colorful children’s toys. A portable crib sits in the back corner while a muted lullaby plays on a rotating mobile.
Micia holds the young couple’s newborn, Cam, while seated at the breakfast bar in their spacious kitchen. Their 2-year-old daughter Cianna hides behind Cameron’s legs.
Together, Cam and Micia talk about their unlikely path to home ownership in Oakland Housing’s Woodbridge Estates.
“We were looking for a loft in the Wayne State area,” Micia said about the search for their first home. “Thinking we would rent, we just happened to drive by the neighborhood and could see big, beautiful homes for sale. A sign said, ‘call this number’ so we did.”
Just west of the Lodge Freeway, off Canfield, Woodbridge Estates is on the edge of Detroit’s popular Midtown district and within walking distance to the area’s vibrant city life. With empty lots available for building, the idyllic neighborhood seemed perfect for the large family the Smiths dreamed about.
But empty lots were going fast, and Cam and Micia’s first two bids failed. And even though no one in either of their families had ever owned a house, they believed that Woodbridge was going to be home.
“We prayed. We had faith. We knew in our hearts we’d settle here,” Cam shared. “And once we started the mortgage process, Oakland Housing was with us at every step.”
What’s more, the pair had the opportunity to make their four-bedroom, three-bath home exactly how they wanted it, from granite countertops to wood flooring, dark walnut kitchen cabinets and stainless-steel appliances.
Windows of Opportunity
Cameron mentions the office that sits behind the second living area on the home’s main floor. That’s where he recently launched a logistics business. A move he never would have considered before home ownership.
“You feel like you can do more, more for family,” he said. “You can own a business, push harder and farther. The thing is, you are exposed to more: to people who are interested in you, to places like banks that you can work with.”
Micia agrees. Now working on a master’s in public health, she says living in Woodbridge Estates means hope, wealth and new horizons. And little things, too. Like walking to the corner for ice cream, to the market for fresh meat and produce, and feeling safe enough for an evening run.
Both Micia and Cameron know their children are growing up in a safe, diverse and welcoming neighborhood that will provide a haven and place to thrive. That’s what home means to them.
“Go for what you want,” Cam urges. “Get space and time with a home. Oakland Housing made this a very positive experience. They didn’t just walk away.”