COVID-19 has affected Portage Habitat For Humanity's efforts to provide those wanting to own their own homes. As a result, it's been a few years since a home was constructed in town until the last build of two in 2022.
Norman Collier of the Family Selection Committee says the finishing touches are being made on those and notes there likely won't be any built this year.
"There's always a plan to continue building homes in the future," notes Collier. "We were in a unique situation where we had one home where the original family was no longer able to live in it. When they moved out, that home became available for another family. During the pandemic, there wasn't a new home built, but there was a current home that was repurposed and then available for a second family."
He explains a family selection process occurred during COVID, although it was quite different than their usual form.
"In the end, we did come up with a family who was able to move into that home," continues Collier. "So, these are the first homes that have been built since the pandemic, the two that are currently available. I'm sure that's why the committee was eager to build two homes this time around with just that sense of relief of getting back into the normal process and filling the needs for the community."
Collier says he always tells people that their Family Selection Committee has the best job.
"We get to actually select the family and give them this amazing opportunity," adds Collier. "To see just the ways in which lives can be transformed, and how it affects everybody in the family from, of course, the parents to the children. Habitat knows that children, especially, benefit in the long-term from stable housing. It's just great to be able to see how communities and individuals change."
The original Habitat Committee was established in Portage in 2004 and the first home was built in 2006.
"Eleven have been completed and we're now on number twelve and thirteen," notes Collier.
He says those two houses will be completed within the next few months.