Dreams came true for four families Saturday as they broke ground on property that will become their new homes through Habitat for Humanity.
The morning sky that had threatened to bring showers turned sunny as the families drove shovels into the ground, signaling the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.
Two houses, 5311 17th Ave. and 2215 67th St., will be built from the ground up. Two others, 4417 29th Ave. and 4704 24th Ave., are set for renovations that include bigger bedrooms, redesigned bathrooms and kitchens replete with new appliances and new flooring. Each house will also feature a garage.
The day started at 29th Avenue, where Ethel Johnson, who had been living with her mother for the past 10 years, will get her own home. For her, the house represents independence and a place where her grandchildren and great grandchildren can visit. The backyard is big enough to accommodate a garden and her youthful visitors.
Her new property was blessed through a prayer followed by a brief speech by 65th District state representative Tod Ohnstad, who praised the program and spoke of how the houses change the lives of the occupants.
Nine houses have been built since the program started in Kenosha County. “We hope we get more,” Ohnstad said.
A half-hour later, the Habitat for Humanity caravan moved to the second renovation project at 4704 24th Ave., where Trista Lafayette is to live with her two daughters, Jaceena, a fifth-grader, and 2-year-old Cubriana. The three-bedroom house has a two-car garage, a basement and a large attic that will become another bedroom, a study space and a play room.
William Rendall, the local Habitat for Humanity construction manager, said renovations on the houses would likely include taking down some walls to make room for expansion. Each renovated house will have new electrical and plumbing updates and new insulation. They will be as good as new construction, Rendall said.
Under the program, able-bodied homeowners are required to take an active part in the work on their house along with volunteers. When the house is completed, homeowners are required to pay a mortgage.
Families are selected based upon their income, and must meet several qualifications.
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