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Habitat for Humanity resuming construction on first veteran home after COVID-19 delay

La Crosse Tribune - 1/11/2021

Jan. 10—COVID-19 left Habitat for Humanity behind on home construction in 2020, but the organization is hoping to get back on track with the resumption of full-time work on its first veteran home.

Habitat for Humanity La Crosse area had aimed to complete six homes last year, but after a two-month closure due to the pandemic and limits put on volunteers to accommodate social distancing, only four houses were completed.

"This means two families were not able to move into their new homes like we had hoped," says Habitat executive director Kahya Fox.

The Klatte family — Jacob, who served as a sergeant in the Marine Corps from 2004 to 2013, wife Stephanie and their three sons — had to press pause on completion of their new home on Hood Street, delaying their move from their current dwelling, which has been severely damaged by basement flooding and is costly to heat due to its age.

However, construction is resuming full force on the Klatte home, which is part of the Habitat for Heroes program. Through the program, local veterans assist in building homes for veterans and their families, giving them a chance to interact, build skills and develop a support circle. Habitat for Heroes is run by a committee which includes area veterans and their family members, local businesses and local veteran organizations.

The Klattes will be putting in around 400 hours of labor in addition to volunteer help on the Hood Street house.

"Our family has participated in neighborhood clean-ups with Habitat. We like the fact that it is a 'hand-up' and not a 'handout,' and we feel like it is a way to better our circumstances while contributing to the community as new homeowners," Jacob previously said. "We are very excited to learn new skills and help build the home we will be living in. Working with other volunteers will help us meet new people and be a part of a larger community of people interested in helping each other grow."

Upon completion of the home, the Klatte Family will purchase it from Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area through a 30-year, 0% interest mortgage.

"We are so excited to be pivoting our focus to the veteran home," says Fox. "We've already had such amazing support for this home."

Brickl Bros., First American Roofing and Window World have donated materials and labor to hasten the construction of the home, which is anticipated to be completed in summer 2021. Volunteers are still needed for the project, and those interested can visit

Emily Pyrek can be reached at


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