A crew of more than 150 volunteers will come together in the Washington Park neighborhood this week to launch Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity’s 31st year of building homes, community and hope at the annual “Blitz Build.” During this May Build, Habitat will focus on the 2100 block of North 38th Street—adding three owner-occupied houses to a block that is already home to 15 Habitat families, and boosting the homeownership rate to nearly 90 percent.
Students from Pewaukee High School will join a group of experienced UPS volunteers serving as mentors to the students as they build together on the build site. Students will get firsthand experience outside of the classroom in basic carpentry, framing, drywall and masonry. Students got involved with Habitat for Humanity in 2012 upon the recommendation of a UPS Employee, and long time Habitat volunteer, Dan Guendert, who envisioned a mentoring program for the students on the Habitat job sites.
The students, primarily juniors and seniors, participate in the build as part of Pewaukee High School’s “Home Construction” Class. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity allows the students to apply their curriculum, while serving the school’s mission of citizenship.
“It’s an experience these kids would have otherwise not been exposed to,” remarks Pewaukee High School principal Marty Van Hulle, “These students are given an opportunity to apply real work skills learned in the classroom, benefiting their education and the community.”
For the past 30 years, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity and its corps of dedicated volunteers has partnered with low-income families to build homes and stabilize communities. In 2013, the organization launched a Neighborhood Revitalization strategy, and is now concentrating its work in Washington Park to make a significant, sustainable impact on the neighborhood’s housing conditions and property values.
Through the Neighborhood Revitalization, Milwaukee Habitat has expanded its programs beyond new construction to include affordable home repairs and rehabs, and community development projects. The goal of building community as well as homes can be seen in the projects scheduled for the Build Season:
- New Construction: Milwaukee Habitat will frame 13 brand new single-family homes, supported by partnerships with Joy Global, Sargento Foods, We Energies, Elmbrook Church, Catholic Financial Life, A.O. Smith Corporation, First Weber and Johnson Controls and MGIC.
- Complete Rehab: Volunteers will begin the work of turning 5 city-owned vacant foreclosures into safe, decent, affordable houses and continue throughout the summer from support received from Potawatomi Community Foundation, Lowes, Town Bank, Associated Bank.
While Milwaukee Habitat has broadened its focus to neighborhood revitalization, the organization’s core mission remains to provide affordable housing opportunities for hardworking families. In 2015, the organization will serve more than 40 families, while constructing new homes and rehabbing city-owned abandoned foreclosures.
Over 1000 individuals representing businesses and organizations will help Habitat build homes, communities and hope throughout their 2015 build season. If you would like more information about how your business/organization can support Habitat’s mission through sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please contact:
Karen Von Rueden
Development & Marketing Director
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity