With eight local homes completed, organization set to add another in Grafton or Port
The Ozaukee chapter of Habitat for Humanity-Lakeside is eager to begin work on a single-family home this year, but doesn’t know if it will be built in Grafton or Port Washington.
At its May 14 meeting, the board decided to wait until a family has been selected and build the house where it best suits them, said Al Schupp, former board president.
Habitat owns a 1.1-acre lot behind Sendik’s in Grafton that was annexed into the village last year. The pre-annexation agreement brokered by Schupp after lengthy negotiations with village officials calls for three units — a single-family home and duplex condominiums — to be built. Habitat will also install a sidewalk along Columbia Road.
“We plan to do it in two phases — put in utilities, prepare the land and build the single-family house in the first phase and, when funds are available, build the duplex,” Schupp said.
Habitat also owns a lot on Park Street in Port Washington that has been approved for three single-family homes. The first house was built last year.
Howard Mulloy of the Ozaukee County Human Services Department and chairman of Habitat’s family selection committee said the committee is interviewing eight families that applied for a home last year and expects to make a decision soon.
“There are some families who need financial counseling to make sure they are on the right track to assume a mortgage and put in the sweat equity,” Mulloy said.
“My hope is that eventually we can have an open enrollment period (all the time) so families can be working ahead of time on their finances and be considered for homes when the time comes up.”
The decision on where the family prefers to live is usually related to which school district the children attend, he said.
Habitat has built homes for eight families — two single-family houses, a duplex condominium and a four-unit condo complex — in Port Washington.
“We want to build one house a year alternating between Grafton and Port Washington,” Schupp said.
Peter Dundon, president of the Ozaukee chapter, said even if the house is built in Port this year “some cosmetic landscape work will be done at the Grafton site.”
For the eight families in Habitat homes, the organization has made it possible for them to improve their lives.
Abby and Chris Massie, his children Bryson, 14, and Madison, 11, their 6-year-old daughter Nina Rei and black Labrador Marly moved into a duplex condominium on Larabee Street in Port Washington in December. The duplex was built by Habitat in 2005.
The organization foreclosed on the previous homeowner last year. Repairs and updates were needed before the house was ready for new owners.
The Massies said they never thought they could afford a home and are grateful to Habitat for making it possible.
Instead of paying $960 rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Grafton, the couple now pay about $500 to Habitat to cover a no-interest mortgage, property taxes and home insurance.
“The rent was killing us money-wise,” Abby said. “My mother saw that Habitat was looking for families, and she thought we would qualify.”
Abby applied, supplied all the documents requested and crossed her fingers.
She and her husband work, but their income wasn’t covering their expenses.
Abby is a child-care teacher and Chris works in a pizza parlor. Before Nina was born, they lived above the pizza parlor. Chris shares custody of his children with their mother so the two older children are with them half the time.
Chris said he didn’t hold out much hope that they would be selected, saying he hasn’t had much good luck in his life — except for his wife and children.
“I’ll do anything for them,” he said.
They were approved and celebrated Christmas in their new home. The family strung lights everywhere.
“That was pretty magical,” Madison said. “I love the house, and I love having my own bedroom.”
Before, she and her sister shared a room. Nina now has a bright pink bedroom, while Madison chose purple for her room.
Bryson’s bedroom is in the lower level.
Some paperwork still must be done to complete the transaction, but a dedication was held March 30 while Chris’ mother was visiting from Virginia so she could share their joy and meet the volunteers who built the house.
Mulloy said the Massies are a joy to work with.
“Chris rebuilt the retaining wall, and they cleaned up the place. They put in their sweat equity,” Mulloy said. “They’re so appreciative.
“After they were selected, Chris told me, ‘Now, I can go into Home Depot and feel legitimate.’”
During the dedication, the Massies were given a housewarming basket that contained symbolic items — bread so they may never know hunger, salt so their lives will always have flavor, sugar that they may enjoy the sweetness of life, coins for good fortune and a broom to sweep away the old and make way for the new.
Habitat is seeking volunteers for building crews, fundraisers and to serve on the board of directors.
For more information, visit www.ozhh.org, e-mail
or call 284-6880.
Image information: MEMBERS OF THE Massie family — (from left) Nina Rei, 6, Madison,11, parents Abby and Chris, and Bryson, 14 — were all smiles as they stood in front of their Habitat duplex condominium on Larabee Street in Port Washington. Photo by Sam Arendt