Reclaim Detroit Gives Vacant Homes a Second Life

Reclaim Detroit was founded in 2011 to tackle the problem of blight in the city, where some 75,000 vacant structures now stand, ready to be demolished and brought to the landfill. Reclaim instead wants to give these homes a second life, tearing them apart and pulling the best materials to resell or repurpose. The non-profit's motto: "Don't Demolish, Deconstruct!" Woodworkers like Chris Wells gather old boards, remove nails and flaws, and either sell the materials or use them for new projects — like old, reclaimed floors. "A lot of the wood we get has a story," he says. "A lot of people just want a piece of the city with them, even if they're not from here."