Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on second home in Kenosha

Organization in need of future homeowners


By Jon Brines


Habitat for Humanity broke ground on its second home in Kenosha Saturday to help single mom Lisa Lavine and her children Jennifer, 13, and Richie, 9.

Lavine said as a first-time homeowner the move will bring her stability.

"We moved a lot because of my son's conditions," Lavine said. "I wanted something more affordable for me so I wouldn't have to struggle as much."

Lavine is underinsured, caring for a child with chronic medical issues as well as being under-employed. Lavine, a medical assistant, is in school to become a registered nurse.

"I'm excited for a new house," she said.

Partnership with the homeowner

By the first of the year she 'll get the keys to the 1,050-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bath home with an attached garage at 4711 60th St.

Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to build and make simple, decent and affordable housing available to those who need it the most.

With sponsors and grants, Habitat provides the zero-percent interest loan, and with volunteer labor the homeowner finances the home at cost, according to Nicole Jurgens from the organization's Family Selection Committee.

"If it costs us $100,000 to build the house, that's what the loan is going to be for," Jurgens said. "That's how we keep it affordable. When the loans get paid back, we recycle that money for the next houses."

On Saturday, Lavine met many of the volunteers who will build her house.

"Without your efforts I wouldn't be here today," Lavine told the volunteers. "Thank you, guys."

Lavine grabbed the rolled-up plans for her new house like a diploma and shot them a gleeful smile. She'll also put about 250 hours into building it with them.

Kenosha County Board Supervisor Ron Frederick supports her too.

"I will be your neighbor. I live right across the street," Frederick shouted from the crowd. "Welcome to the neighborhood!"

Habitat for Humanity has been in Racine for the last 10 years and Kenosha since 2012.

The need is great

Jack Rose, Kenosha 15th District alderman, said housing is an issue in Kenosha.

"We have people in Kenosha who need housing. We're making progress," Rose said. "The mission of Habitat for Humanity is fantastic. It's a collaborative effort with Kenosha."

Organizers admitted they can't break ground on the next two houses because they have no homeowners.

"We have the money, we have the resources and the volunteers but we're having a really hard time getting applicants," Jurgens said. "It's a good problem to have, but at this point we need to get moving and we can't."

The criteria is need, ability and willingness to partner.

"It's the ability to pay is what we're having a problem with," Jurgens said. "It's not a hand out. It is a hand up."

Jurgens said some people who may be eligible to become Habitat homeowners think they make too much.

"There are people who are paying the majority of their income in rent that shouldn't be. They should be able to own a home," she said.

Jurgens encourages anyone interested to check out the information or fill out an application on the website habitatkenosha.org.

The third house will be a two-story home at 6630 12th Ave.

Kenosha's Jose Vega received the first house on 14th Avenue in June. He came Saturday with his wife to show support. He said he's settling in and said it was a good decision.

"My kids are happy. They love it. That's what every father wants," Vega said.

Lavine has advice too.

"Try it. You never know. I didn't expect to get it." Lavine said.


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