Habitat cleanup-1

Janice Conlon pushes a wheelbarrow as Katie Karls watches.

Issue:

Habitat for Humanity of Fond du Lac County is building a home in Ripon this year, and is planning to do some repair projects as well.

Background:

Habitat for Humanity owns a vacant lot in Ripon near the intersection of Metomen and Joy Streets that it plans to use to build a three bedroom, one bathroom home, according to Executive Director Katie Karls.

“It's a great opportunity for younger families, or people that are currently living in rental units, duplexes or high rent homes,” she said.

A family would need to apply for the homeownership program, and then Habitat for Humanity would put them through a pre-screening process to see if they qualify, before requiring them to take a course on homeownership.

Qualifications include demonstrating a need for housing, an ability to pay and a willingness to partner with habitat, according to the organization’s webpage.

Karls noted the family would have to pay a mortgage with a 0% interest rate.

“There’s many families that do qualify for this program, but they may not be educated about what habitat does,” she said. “Habitat is not a poverty program, it’s the next step. It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up.”

For people buying a home through Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program, Karls said they work harder than those purchasing a home through a traditional mortgage program.

She explained that families using the program are “getting nothing for free,” and they’re required to be involved in the construction process.

“They’re going to have input in it and their blood, sweat and tears are going into it just as much as ours is,” Karls said. “One of the requirements is that they have to be willing to partner with us. That means, for a single person, performing up to 300 hours of sweat equity, or 500 hours for a couple.”

Status:

Karls said Habitat does not want to start the project any later than October, and is willing to move the timeline up for eligible families.

She added that the project benefits the community by giving deserving families the ability to become a homeowner, while giving the community the opportunity to volunteer on the project and form “social cohesiveness.”

In addition to the home build, Habitat also does repair work in the community. Last year, the organization worked on a project on Metomen Street, in which it did exterior power washing, painting, landscaping and yard work.

Karls said the organization is planning to do a similar repair project this year on Washington Street in Ripon.

What’s next?

The deadline to apply for the homeownership program is April 2.

For individuals that aren’t interested in applying but would like to get involved, Karls said monetary donations can be made out to Habitat for Humanity of Fond du Lac County and the organization is always looking for volunteers.

“Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s all kinds of ways volunteers can contribute to habitat,” she said. “Volunteers are donating food for our volunteers at the worksite, they’re writing thank you notes, helping our campaign management, taking inventory on our tools and doing the physical labor of building and repairing. We couldn’t do these things without our volunteers.”

She added that Habitat for Humanity of Fond du Lac County is looking to expand its relationships with Ripon and the surrounding area.

“We serve all of Fond du Lac County,” she said. “If you’d like to help, don’t hesitate to give us a call.”

For more information, call 920-921-6623.

Is there an issue you want us to update?

If you’re wondering about something that was in the news but doesn’t have a resolution, send your idea to:

Email: news@riponpress.com

Phone: 920-748-3017

Mail: 303 Watson St., PO Box 262, Ripon, WI 54971

Written By

Joe Schulz served as the reporter of the Green Laker in 2019 and 2020, before being hired as a reporter for the Commonwealth in October 2020. He is from Oshkosh and graduated from UW-Oshkosh in December with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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