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habitat groundbreaking

Jonneaa Rivera, center, and family members break ground Sunday for Rivera’s new Habitat for Humanity home. From left are Rivera’s brother Edgar; her cousin, Stewart Arie Coleman, 5; and her sons, Marcos, Dyonisio and Carlos.

Jonneaa Rivera never thought the day would come.

But on Sunday, she broke ground on the lot that will hold her new home, courtesy of Habitat for Humanitiy.

By next spring, half of the lot at 5503 23rd Ave. will have a new home for her and her sons, Carlos, 15; Dyonisio, 14; and Marcos, 7.

“This really means a lot,” a tearful 33-year-old Rivera told family and friends. “I can’t believe it’s finally happening. This is a big deal for my kids to finally have.”

Habitat is now waiting for permits to be approved by the city for the organization’s 12th home.

Once that is done, site manager Dennis Carson said volunteers hope to begin digging this fall and will likely begin building next spring.

How long construction takes depends on how many volunteers they have to work on the house, said Executive Director Angela Elliott.

“We always have great volunteers, but we always need more,” she said.

Especially needed are professional tradesmen to put in more volunteer time. Schedules and information can be found on the Habitat website at https://habitatkenosha.org/get-involved/volunteer.

The new 1,480-square-foot home will be similar in style to other homes in the area, with a small front porch, two stories and a basement.

The house will have a living room and adjoining kitchen on the first floor, an unfinished basement, and a master bedroom and two smaller bedrooms on the second floor.

As with all Habitat houses, the basement includes a washer and dryer and can be finished by the prospective owner.

It also has plumbing in place if they want to add a lower level bathroom, said Carson.

There also will be a two-car garage.

The best part is what it does for the family.

“This is something she has been talking about for quite some time, and now it’s coming to fruition,” said Jonneaa’s aunt, Margie Rivera of Waukegan, Ill. “She finally has a place to call home. She deserves it.”

Jonneaa, who works in military housing with the Department of Veterans Affairs, likes the idea of her sons each having their own rooms, something not possible in their current Kenosha apartment.

While the boys still are not sure what their rooms will look like, the oldest, Carlos, a sophomore at Bradford High School, thinks “he’d like a blue room.”

Jonneaa said she is definitely looking forward to doing some planting and other homeowner things.

“I tried one time before to get a homebuyer’s loan, but it didn’t work out,” she said. “This is a big deal for my kids to finally have.

“I’m a little scared. I’ll probably have to see if I have a green thumb. It’s just having a back yard, privacy.

“What Habitat does for families is an amazing thing.”

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