Habitat for Humanity celebrates first Faith Build home | Local News

Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area is celebrating the completion of its 55th home.

With COVID safety in mind, Habitat will not host a large dedication, but will instead celebrate by hosting two Open Houses on Thursday, January 27 from 4 to 6 pm and Saturday, January 29 from 11 am to 1 pm at the new home at 1121 Avon Street in La Crosse. The public is welcome to stop by during any of these days and times to take a tour of Habitat’s most recent home for the Olson Family.

Open houses allow you to see the home and welcome the soon-to-be-homeowner. It’s also a way for Habitat to say “thank you” to the hundreds of volunteers, donors, and supporters who helped make this home a reality.

The Faith Build home is a special achievement. This home was a partnership with Thrivent Financial and the local faith community, which worked collectively to raise the funds needed.

“Local area congregations really rose to the challenge, even in the time of pandemic,” says Executive Director, Kahya Fox. “We got creative with our fundraising, but even more beautifully, we had 10 congregations working side-by-side to raise walls, prayers, and funds.”

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This home is a symbol of Faith in Action. Revs. Becky Goche and Tom Uphaus led a blessing last week with faith partners, sharing, “May the strength of the walls provide safety, keeping strife and trouble outside. But may the door always be open wide to welcome friends and family.” Goche and Uphaus were just two of the local pastors and laypeople who stepped up to make their churches champions by raising awareness about the deep impact of homeownership among low-income families; hosting events; engaging youth; and promoting auctions, chicken q’s and other fundraisers.

The Olson family is full of gratitude for the home and the experience of being embraced by community. Libby Olson and her two boys now have all the room to grow in a safe and affordable home. Libby put in her 350 sweat equity hours on the construction site and learned more than just building skills. Homeownership means safety and stability.

It is a dream come true for the single mom who worried about renewing leases, not enough space, and rent costs. The family is currently living in a very small apartment. The windows are not well sealed, so water and cold winter air seep in most days, increasing their monthly housing costs.

Libby will purchase the home at the full appraised value with a 30-year, zero percent interest mortgage. The community generosity and Habitat’s low-income home ownership model will ensure that monthly expenses of the home, taxes, and insurance will not be more than 30% of Libby’s monthly income; ensuring her success as a homeowner and allowing her to prioritize other needs in the family.

Ever wonder how many volunteers it takes to build a habitat home? Well, this one had more than 200 unique volunteers, including 12 Team Builds, giving more than 2,600 hours.

For Trinity Lutheran Church, located just a few blocks from the construction site, it became a focus of service.

“Trinity has felt honored and privileged to be a part of an extraordinary team like Faith Build. It is our prayer that Libby and her sons experience great blessings in their new home. We have been blessed with the ability to share the gifts of our members for the betterment of this family and the community. Faith brings healing, peace, love, joy, and blessings, even in the time of trials,” reflects Pastor Phil Waselik. Longtime Habitat volunteer and Faith Champion, Scott Hendrickson said, “The Olson Family is now our family.”

Champion congregations included: English Lutheran Church, First Congregational Church La Crosse, First Free Church Onalaska, New Beginnings Church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church; Prince of Peace Lutheran Church-La Crescent, Roncalli Newman Parish, Trinity Lutheran Church, Shepherd of the Hills, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of La Crosse.

Sponsorships, Team Builds, and In-Kind donations were provided by: Thrivent Financial, Amery Church, School District of Holmen, Rotary, LHI/Optum Serve, Western Technical College, CRVC, REMAX, Marine Credit Union, WKBT, Associated Bank, Gorman & Company, 181st Multi-functional Training Brigade, Badger, La Crosse Seed, Leon Country Floors, First Supply, Lisa Jacobsen, Hope United Church, Retirement fund of Rev. Mark Solyst, Sherwin Williams, Fowler & Hammer, Custom Closets, River City Painting, Schneider Electric, and Whirlpool.

In Photos: Rotary Lights 2021

Rotary Lights opens

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

The new Rotary Lights mascots, Katie Watt, left, and Kilo Watt


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

Rotary Lights opens its 27th year Friday night in Riverside Park.


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Taking in the Rotary Lights

The crowd takes in opening night at Riverside Park. For a photo gallery and video from the celebration, go to lacrossetribune.com.


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

Opening night at Rotary Lights


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

Opening night at Rotary Lights


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Singing light concert

Children watch the singing lights of Rotary Lights Friday night.


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

Lights reflect off a car in a light tunnel.


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

Girls Scouts walk in the Rotary Lights Parade.


Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune

Rotary Lights opens

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Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune