‘A dream come true’: Habitat for Humanity of Dane County volunteers help single mom build her first home

MIDDLETON, Wis. – Latisha McKeown had never owned a home, but on Wednesday she came one step closer to saying goodbye to paying rent and trading it for a mortgage.

At Springs Window Fashions in Middleton, 75 employees volunteered through Habitat for Humanity Dane County to help McKeown build the walls for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom, one-story house.

“It’s amazing, it’s a dream come true,” McKeown said. “I still think this is a dream—can’t believe this is really happening so I’m very grateful.”

She said for years she’s been paying rent and watching the rates increase, and as a single mom, it’s been difficult at times.

After a long application process, on Wednesday she rolled up her sleeves, and with hammer in hand, she got to work building the future she’s always wanted for her daughter.

Among her dozens of helpers were Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar who’s been volunteering with Habitat for about three years.

He said in Dane County he knows it’s very difficult to find affordable homes and how much of a difference that can make in people’s lives.

“What Habitat does is transform lives. They grow up in a home, it’s a lot different than growing up in an apartment,” he said. “Even though in Middleton we have affordable apartments, having a home is entirely a different life.”

Construction Director Adam Helt-Baldwin said once the build is complete, Habitat goes from being a builder to a bank–selling the house to McKeown.

That means the first-time owner will continue her partnership with Habitat, paying a mortgage to buy the house in the coming years.

Habitat for Humanity has built more than 300 homes in Dane County since 1987.