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Habitat For Humanity's 500th Milwaukee Home Build / Community Stories Summer 2012

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Habitat for Humanity is marking a major milestone in Milwaukee.  Last week, it broke ground on its 500th home in the City of Milwaukee.  It's part of a seven-home redevelopment in the Washington Park neighborhood, between North 39th and 40th streets.

Renee Walls and her son Alonzo will move into their new home in the next few months.  For now, they're working alongside volunteers from Americorps and Wells Fargo to lay out framing at the site.

"I'm speechless.  That's about the way I can sum it up.  I'm just happy," Walls said.  "It means a lot being able to own my own home for the first time."

Walls, 48, is also the primary caregiver for her elderly father who is battling cancer.  After the build is complete, Walls will care for him at home.

"I'm looking forward to bringing him home, because he's in a nursing home right now.  I wouldn't want anything to happen to him in a nursing home.  I'd rather him be with me," she said.

The Washington Park neighborhood is slowly seeing stabilization, especially in the last decade.  Brian Sonderman, Executive Director at Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, says builds like this one help revitalize a neighborhood. 

"Neighborhoods in the central city need an infusion of hope," he said. "What Washington Park has seen is a stabilization of home prices, and that's been a tremendous benefit for the neighborhood.  And it's really poised for growth in the next few years."

Habitat for Humanity relies on its volunteer staff to build homes all over Milwaukee.  To get involved, visit its official website or call (414) 562-6100.