Wisconsin Veterans Helping One of Their Own, Build House for Single Mother of Three

by Jennifer Shea

Wisconsin veterans are teaming up with Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a fellow veteran.

Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Build is a national campaign to build housing for and provide volunteer opportunities to military veterans, current service members and their families, NBC 26 reports. So now the Green Bay Habitat for Humanity chapter is building its 127th house at 701 Oak St. in De Pere, Wisconsin. It will be the chapter’s first Veterans Build property.

The event is happening this Wednesday and Thursday in De Pere. The house is for a U.S. Army veteran named Smith, a single mother of three.

Veterans Face Economic and Housing Challenges

In launching its national campaign, Habitat for Humanity points to a report by the National Housing Conference on the challenges facing veterans. According to the report, nearly half of veterans who are single mothers spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

The National Housing Conference reportedly found those veterans are grappling with serious economic and housing issues. And they are saddled with heavy housing costs. So Habitat for Humanity decided to give them a helping hand.

Habitat for Humanity Grapples with Climate Change

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit. It partners with people who need homes to build houses, and advocates for affordable housing. It is a Christian organization that puts “demonstrat[ing] the love of Jesus Christ” as its first principle. But it also has a non-proselytizing policy and will not work with people who insist on proselytizing.

According to its website, the organization is currently facing an “unprecedented” global housing crisis. It’s not just veterans who are affected. And the crisis is made worse by climate change.

“In the more than 70 countries around the world where we work, climate change is having far-reaching impacts,” the nonprofit states on its website.

Habitat goes on to acknowledge that the construction of buildings and the homes themselves are responsible for nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But they insist that adequate housing can go up sustainably.

Moreover, the group points out, extreme weather events have grown more severe thanks to climate change. And those tend to take out major chunks of the global affordable housing stock. So Habitat is trying to build more disaster-resistant homes. That’s even as it ratchets up the use of sustainable resources in construction materials.  

Habitat also tries to use local materials, labor and technical expertise so it’s supporting the local economies where it builds. And the organization works to keep its construction materials out of landfills, seeking opportunities to re-use them instead.

Habitat’s “community-driven” approach is apparent in its work with veterans, using military labor to help military families who need homes. And if the Green Bay chapter of Habitat has its way, pretty soon there will be one less veteran in need of a place to stay.