Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity is about to dedicate a home to its 1,000th family.
Deeanna Brown and her daughter, Milan Jordan, have a new home in the Washington Park Neighborhood. The reality of homeownership began as a dream in April of 2015.
"I get very emotional thinking about it," Brown said. "It's like planting a seed, and you witness a harvest over the course of a year."
Brown began volunteering with Milwaukee Habitat years ago. She was inspired by two aunts who have been volunteering for 15 years.
Now Brown is a volunteer-turned-homeowner herself, complete with a home that's accessible for her five-year-old daughter.
"We've been here for not even a week yet and she's been getting into things," laughed Brown.
Milwaukee Habitat began building homes in 1984. Eight years later came a partnership with Sargento Foods.
"The employees are so excited," said Sargento Foods Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations Barbara Gannon. "Every year we have many, many more volunteers than we can even accommodate in the build."
The homes are designed for families. They are three to four bedrooms with 1,200-1,500 square feet.
The homeowners put in several hours building their own home.
Brian Sonderman, executive director of Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, said there is a reason Milwaukee Habitat has chosen to focus on one neighborhood at a time.
"This neighborhood is the only neighborhood in Milwaukee that saw a reduction in crime last year," Sonderman said. "That speaks to the work that's going on here. We hope to replicate this in other neighborhoods as we move forward."
Since 2013, Milwaukee Habitat has served more than 200 families in the Washington Park Neighborhood alone, and as that number grows, so do the upgrades to the homes.
"I know families this year will get garages so it's phenomenal to see that Milwaukee Habitat is growing," said Brown.
Milwaukee Habitat's official 1,000th family dedication will take place Friday, June 17, at Brown's home.