Blog Post - Jun 20, 2022
We strive to make a safer world not only through our rugged and reliable products, but also through our volunteer efforts, financial giving, building relationships with others. This past year, the Dairyland team was able to invest in affordable housing and sponsor a family through Habitat for Humanity. Read more about our experience below.
Sponsorship Turned Partnership
Since 2018, Dairyland employees have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity at various build sites around the county. Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) is a nonprofit that helps make homeownership possible for families, by bringing people together to build homes and communities. They envision a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Last year we learned that a new development was being planned in Stoughton, WI, where Dairyland is headquartered. With this new development being built in our own community, we found it was the perfect opportunity to sponsor a family.
Originally from Kosovo, Nexhmedin and Liridona moved to the United States as refugees of war in the late 1990s and made Wisconsin home. With their four daughters, they have spent months dreaming, planning, and investing in their new place.
In addition to funding a portion of the building costs, we decided to ramp up our investment through regular volunteering. In July 2021, ground was broken and building began. Over the subsequent months, teams from Dairyland regularly dedicated 5–8-hour days using their paid volunteer time. Our teams often worked side-by-side with Nexhmedin, while framing, siding, and painting the space. Seasons changed from summer to fall, winter and finally spring. As they did, we watched the lot transform from a large hole in the ground to a beautiful place that is about to gain six deserving homeowners.
Soon Nexhmedin, Liridona, and their daughters will finally have the keys. “We value keeping our family together and living happily in our house,” says Nexhmedin. They are looking forward to welcoming friends, each child having their own room, and expanding into the backyard to play.
In the Team’s Words
When we work in partnership and solidarity, everyone benefits. Here’s what several members of the Dairyland team had to say about their experience:
|“It’s a good kind of tired at the end of a day at our local Habitat project – making the world a safer and better place, with one family at a time.”
– Mike Tachick President
|“Personally, the rewards I receive from Habitat are numerous and varied. I am honored to help such a good community-strengthening group of people, and I also have my own personal rewards such as working with a team, physical workout, & construction learning experience.”
– Mark Dahl, Mechanical Designer
|It’s been an honor for our team to play a small part in building a place where the Ahmeti family can make memories for years to come. It’s also a reminder to us that businesses also have neighbors. And we want for them what we want for ourselves – safety, provision for our families, and places where great memories can be made together.”
– Kailey Dharam, Director of Culture & Formation
The Road to Homeownership
Families interested in Habitat’s homeownership opportunity, must complete an application that assesses their family’s need, ability to pay an affordable mortgage, and willingness to partner with Habitat. This partnership is largely made up of “sweat equity,” completing activities such as assisting trained volunteers with the construction work on the home—about 200-400 hours per family—as well as preparatory courses on topics such as budgeting, home maintenance, and insurance.
In many areas across the country, there are not enough affordable homes to meet the demand of the community. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are “37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 renter households”. A home is more than protection from the elements. It offers stability and is foundational to health, safety, achievement, and many economic advancement opportunities.
Once a family’s application is approved by Habitat, they next complete an in-person interview with a local board. If selected by the board, the families then get to work building their future as homeowners. Once the home is constructed, the homeowners complete their final closing based on affordable rates. These payments are then re-invested by Habitat into other affordable homes. Finally, it’s time to move in!
We congratulate Nexhmedin, Liridona, and their girls on their new home and all the hard work they dedicated to it!
Habitat for Humanity is located across the world and offers many ways to help get more families into safe, affordable housing. You can find a site near you and get involved in your own community here.