Another Habitat home takes shape

Organization hopes that raising of the walls of what will be its second and third homes in Grafton will inspire fundraising for a project delayed by soil conditions

PUTTING THEIR BACKS into it, volunteers raised the walls of a Habitat for Humanity Ozaukee duplex being built in Grafton on Saturday. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The walls literally rose Saturday on Habitat for Humanity Ozaukee’s newest build, a duplex on the Village of Grafton’s south side.

A crowd gathered at the site on Columbia Road Saturday as walls that had been built on Wednesday and earlier Saturday were raised and a blessing offered. 

“It feels good,” Diana Eggold, the organization’s vice president, said of the start of construction. “They are literally raising the walls.”

It’s been a long process, she said, noting that soil conditions on the site forced the group to reconfigure the building plan.

Last year, the group received permission from the Village of Grafton to delay construction by a year, noting that it didn’t have the needed funds at the time.

Eggold said the organization is seeking a corporate sponsor for one side of the duplex. Port Washington State Bank is donating $10,000 and challenging other businesses to match that amount.

The other side of the duplex is a so-called Christian build being supported by area churches. That portion of the duplex will be constructed first.

The hope, Eggold said, is to get the house enclosed before winter so work can continue throughout the year.

“We’re still fundraising,” she said, noting Habitat still needs to raise more than $125,000 for this build.

But, Eggold said, starting construction will likely ramp up those efforts.

“When people see it up and running, sometimes it brings in donations,” she said. “It becomes reality to them.”

The hope is that construction will be completed with a dedication in late spring or early summer, Eggold said.

Work would then begin on the second unit, with construction of that side completed by the end of 2020.

As work begins, Habitat is completing its selection of a family for the new home, Eggold said.

“We do have people apply all the time,” she said, adding many don’t meet the stringent guidelines Habitat operates under.

“We want them to succeed,” she said. “We don’t want to set them up for failure.”

That’s because, contrary to what many believe, Habitat doesn’t give a house to a family. It builds the house, then gives the family a no-interest mortgage that must be paid.

In addition, the family must provide sweat equity in their new house.  

To qualify for a Habitat home, applicants must be Ozaukee County residents who meet specific income guidelines — earning 60% to 80% of the area median income — have an acceptable credit history and have been denied a conventional mortgage.

Habitat is partnering with Family Sharing of Ozaukee and will have occasional hours there to try and connect with people in need of housing, Eggold said.

Even as Habitat is beginning its construction project, it is continuing the Brush with Kindness program it piloted last year, making repairs to houses when the owners can’t.

Habitat has completed about five of these projects so far, Eggold said, doing everything from building a wheelchair ramp to adding handrails to installing an exterior chair lift that enabled a man to access his home.

These are small projects that typically take one to three days to complete, she said.

“We’ve really been ramping up our repairs projects,” Eggold said.

Habitat’s side-by-side duplex will be the organization’s second and third homes in Grafton, where it built a single-family home in 2016. The duplex is next to that house.

The duplex will constitute the group’s 11th and 12th homes — the others have all been built in Port Washington — and it’s only the second duplex Habitat has built.

After the Grafton duplex is completed, Eggold said, Habitat will likely take a year off to raise funds and plan before building on the last lot it owns off Park Street in Port.

The organization has room for two homes on land it bought off Portview Drive near the Ozaukee Interurban Trail last year, she said.

For more information, to apply for a home, volunteer or donate money or materials, visit www.ozhh.org.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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