A house that was to become home to a Habitat family this Christmas was damaged by fire over the weekend. The house, located on the 2100 block of North 38th Street, was one of five complete rehab projects that Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity has been working on for more than ten months.
While the circumstances of the fire are still under investigation, the main outcome is that a family that was expecting to be home for the holidays will have to put their dream on hold, at least temporarily.
“It’s sad and obviously disappointing for them,” said Brian Sonderman, executive director of Milwaukee Habitat. “The family has five young children, all under the age of nine, so it’s hard to have to explain this situation and tell them that their home just isn’t going to be ready.”
The damaged house is currently being assessed, but Milwaukee Habitat construction staff believe it will have to be demolished.
“It’s disappointing to us all at Habitat—our volunteers and staff put in a lot of time and energy into transforming this house,” said Sonderman. “But we’re extremely grateful that no one was injured, and that the fire didn’t do any major damage to the surrounding homes.”
Since 2013, Milwaukee Habitat has focused its efforts in the Washington Park neighborhood, and the rehab was located between two Habitat homes on the block. The house to the south of the rehab does not appear to have been damaged, but the organization did find some exterior damage to the house on the north, which is still under construction. Although repairs will be needed, Habitat does not believe it will impact that partner family’s timeline to move into their new home.
Milwaukee Habitat is working with the partner family that was set to move into the rehabbed house to determine how to move forward so that they have a safe, decent place to call home in the new year.
“Right now, we’re talking through the options,” said Sonderman. “Our partner family knows we’re in this together – it’s a tough loss, but we’ll rebuild.”
If you would like to contribute to helping Habitat to rebuild a home for this displaced partner family, you can make a quick, secure donation online, or contact Karen Von Rueden, Director of Development & Marketing, at 414-562-6100.