Freelance Journalist Moves Into Her Free Detroit House

Write a House leads Liana Aghajanian away from L.A.

Liana Aghajanian (pictured) is in Detroit this weekend for the first time, but it’s not for an assignment. It’s because this freelance journalist is the 2015 winner of 501(c)3 Write a House’s annual home ownership giveaway, joining last year’s recipient, poet Casey Rocheteau.*

From a report by Ellen Piligian in the Detroit Free Press:

Aghajanian learned she won at 2 a.m. last month in Mongolia, where she spent several weeks reporting on the impact of coal pollution on maternal health through an International Reporting Project grant…

Founded in 2012, Write at Home gives writers from around the country a chance to own a home after their two-year residency. WAH started with three vacant homes they bought at auction through donations and a grant, then rehabilitates them using local firms and training local workers, an effort to boost Detroit’s population and economy at the same time.

Aghajanian, an Armenian American born in Iran, immigrated to Los Angeles with her family in 1988 to escape the Iran-Iraq war. The West Coast transplant kicked things off Friday evening in the Motor City with a party… at her new house… thrown in her honor. Somewhat intriguingly, all but one of this year’s Write a House finalists were women.

*Correction (October 5):
Write a House let us know via Twitter that Aghajanian does not take possession of the home until January and is in fact in Detroit just preliminarily. FishbowlNY apologizes for the error.\
[Photo via:; H/T: Deadline Detroit]