History of Habitat for Humanity Lake County


  • 1988 - The First Conversations  - A small group of committed volunteers began meeting at the Waukegan Public Library to explore permanent solutions to the housing needs in Lake County.

    1989 We are Habitat for Humanity!  - In March Bill Ward, Habitat for Humanity Midwest Manager, spoke at the first HFHLC public meeting in the home of Don and Mary Jo Blake in Waukegan. By June we voted Habitat for Humanity Lake County into existence at Immaculate Conception Church in Waukegan. Founders included Christa Metcalf, Julie and Jim Donovan, Christine Harrison, Paul and Fran Ohm, Bill McLaughlin, Rosa Prosen, Pat Lynch, Martha Floener, Laurie Kirwin and Bob Turley. First Congregational Church in Waukegan dedicated a room for office space in their parish house in June. By August Habitat for Humanity International accepted HFHLC as an affiliate. In August the State of Illinois approved the incorporation of HFHLC. By the end of the year we received our 501 c 3 status under the HFHI group exemption.

  • 1990 First House Built - HFHLC started construction on purchased land for House #1 at 2024 Wallace in North Chicago in June with future homeowner, Shirley Hart and her two sons, Charlie and DJ. Members of several churches, the U.S. Navy, the Plumbers Local 93 and IBEW 150 greatly assisted in the build.

    1991 First Closing - In January, HFHLC dedicated its first house and the closing followed. By November, Missouri Myers became HFHLC’s second homeowner in North Chicago through the efforts of area churches and individuals.

    1992 Four Houses - First Church Sponsor & Beginnings of ReStore- The Homebuilders Association sponsored two houses on donated lots in North Chicago. Libertyville Builds, a group of 6 churches funded and built a house in Zion on a lot donated by a church members becoming HFHLC’s first church sponsor. Finally, through the efforts of additional churches, the Navy and individuals, HFHLC built one more house in Zion. Keller Trucking donated a semi-trailer which was set on donated space at Lorrell Business Center for excess construction materials.

  • 1993 First HOME Grant & First ReStore Sale - Libertyville Builds sponsored two more houses in Waukegan. We received our first HUD/HOME grant through the County of Lake. Randy Blodgett, a Navy volunteer, organized our first sale of building materials at Lorrell. HFHLC hired Julie Donovan as its first Executive Director. Ted Ramai joined HFHLC on Saturdays as Construction Manager.

    1994 First Corporate Sponsor - Abbott Laboratories became HFHLC's first Corporate Sponsor funding and building a house in North Chicago. Area churches sponsored the Partnership House.

    1995 Five Houses - The Lake Bluff/Lake Forest Partnership sponsored its first house in North Chicago. Opus North, a commercial developer sponsored a home.

  • 1996 Six Houses in Two Cities - The churches in Wauconda formed Cornerstone Partners and the churches of Highland Park and Deerfield formed the Lake-Cook Partnership and each sponsored a house in Round Lake Beach. The Lake County Technology Campus sponsored our first youth house, also in Round Lake Beach. In Waukegan, Aid Association for Lutherans and the Lutheran churches sponsored a house, the Lake Bluff/Lake Forest Partnership and Abbott also sponsored houses. We experienced the beginnings of mini-subdivisions across the county.

    1997 - Four House on one Block - We built 4 houses on the same block, taking over the street for the entire summer. We added Wednesday workdays and an occasional evening. We hired Jan Schmieding as part-time Business Manager after 7 years of volunteer service.

    1998 Construction Warehouse Makes Building More Efficient - Construction warehouse space donated by North Shore Printers in Waukegan greatly helped the flow of work since we needed a place to keep our “stuff” with 11 houses under construction on 6 different streets during the year. Kraft and Maxwell House sponsored their first house. Baird and Warner sponsored a house with Lou Manfredini (Mr. Fix-It) as the house lead. We hired Merri Monkemeier as our first Office Coordinator.

  • 1999 10th Anniversary: 10 houses and a 10 Day Blitz Build To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we built 10 houses, mostly on McAlister Street in Waukegan. Hewitt, Ameritech, Abbott, Coldwell Banker were corporate sponsors. The Federal Home Loan Bank and member banks built our first Banker’s House. One of these houses was our first Blitz Build a house we built in 10 days! We celebrated with a block party which shut down McAlister and brought great gospel music, games and food!

    2000 Another 10 Houses We built on 6 different streets on the south side of Waukegan with Habitat volunteers everywhere. We hired Jeanne Kelly as our first Development Director and Carole Hill started part-time as our Operations Project Coordinator.

    2001 First New Trier High School House and Glencoe Interfaith Builders House We built our first block of homes on Kemble Avenue in North Chicago in a development of 14 homes which required a major sewer extension. We enjoyed our first four AmeriCorps members (Jenny, Tracy, Nicole and Paul) who spent 11 months serving our affiliate and helping us build 15 homes. Our first youth house was built by New Trier High School. The Glencoe Interfaith Builders, a group of 7 Jewish and Christian congregations sponsored their first house.

  • 2002 Carter Woods Planning Started - We finished our work on Kemble Avenue to finish the 14 house build. CDW sponsored it’s first house in an exciting and efficient build. Board members and staff started work to acquire land for our first subdivision.

    2003 Carter Woods Begins Our First Subdivision -After a year and a half of preparation we held a tremendous Groundbreaking Ceremony in June. Several delays later, we finally excavated our first house in our first subdivision in September. Through the fall, Joel Kennedy’s company installed sewers and a pond. We hired Brenda Porter as our first Family Services Coordinator, Cassie Bertke as Office Coordinator and Judy Datz as Development Director in late summer. The county approved us as a Community Housing Development Organization. We started exploratory work on our second subdivision at 12th Street and Washington Park.

    2004 Gardening Together Begins After building continuously we dedicated our first four Carter Woods homes on 14th Street in the late summer and then four more houses on Dugdale in late fall. Mary Jane Dybas, an amazing volunteer founded our Gardening Together Program which brings mentors, friends and volunteers together to enhance our Habitat yards with the families who proudly own their homes.

  • 2005 Thrivent Builds, Youth United, Building on the Dream - Carter Court was alive all year with 11 homes under construction. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans piloted their national program, Thrivent Builds with Chicagoland affiliates and built 3 homes with us. We became one of the early Youth United affiliates and started our first house sponsored by Youth United. One family sponsored two Houses that Spread Love. Area churches and Greek organizations sponsored our first Building on the Dream house. The Presbyterian Churches sponsored their first house. We dedicated the homes in December with Christmas carols and lights and tears of joy. We obtained the deed for the property at 12th Street and Washington Park which was to become Carter Crossing.
    2006 ReStore Opens in Gurnee and 100 Homes Celebration - In February we opened our new 18,000 square foot ReStore on Grand Avenue in Gurnee and business boomed. In July we gathered for our 100 Homes Celebration with Partner Families and supporters. Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn flew into Waukegan to celebrate with us at Carter Woods in August. We held a Groundbreaking Ceremony in April for Carter Crossing but spent the rest of the year working to get the plat recorded, electric poles moved, a pond installed and permits in hand to begin construction. Jeff Smith was hired as Development Director.

  • 2007 Carter Crossing Begins Our Second Subdivision In February we finally dug our first foundation at Carter Crossing after 5 years of preparation. In May we Blitz Built a house in 8 days. In November we celebrated a Dedication Ceremony with 11 families. We hired Tim Ammons as ReStore Manager in July and business, donations and sales increased.

    2008 Carter Crossing: South side of 11th Court Completed By March 1st, one family moved into Carter Crossing and by year end 9 additional families moved into their new homes on the south side of 11th Court. The Board of Directors worked on Strategic Planning to set the stage for our next level of development.

    2009 20th Anniversary - Carter Crossing continues with north side of 11th Court and LEED Houses built. On the north side of 11th Court, we completed 6 homes. We celebrated our 20th Anniversary by building 1662 11th Court in a 20 day blitz in July as a LEED House (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Many government officials attended our VIP Day in July and a Block Party finished off the celebration! Open Houses for the LEED houses continued in September and October

  • 2010 Carter Crossing: Finished 11th Court and Built 2 LEED Houses - The remaining 5 homes on 11th Court were completed in 2010. We enjoyed having a Blackhawks player on site during the summer. We completed 8 Weatherization Homes in partnership with Exelon. Then, in partnership with the US Green Building Council and Bank of America we built 2 LEED houses on 11th Street which were featured on the USGBC tour in November. In December we celebrated the Dedication of 4 homes with Christmas Caroling in the streets!

    2011 Neighborhood Revitalization: Rehab, Weatherization and A Brush With Kindness - We enrolled as a pilot affiliate in Habitat International’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI). In our new way of serving families, we rehabbed our first house at 1717 Lyons Court. We partnered with the City of Waukegan to complete a Neighborhood Clean-up in our target neighborhood and invited owners to apply for Weatherization and A Brush With Kindness. We remodeled the ReStore to open the space and added donated signage all which helped boost sales!

    2012 Scattered Sites and Rebuilding Neighborhoods - Through donations of property from the City of Waukegan and the City of Zion we demolished eyesore homes in blighted neighborhoods and rebuilt beautiful new homes. We began work on rehabbing vacant homes nearby. In the target neighborhoods we completed 7 Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative projects through Weatherization and A Brush With Kindness. At the ReStore, the addition of our Procurement Manager and Floor Manager helped sales rise to the highest levels ever.

  • 2013 - Rehabs and expansion - With multiple donations of older homes for rehabilitation, we gained experience in loving homes back to life in older neighborhoods completing homes in Waukegan and adding a home in Winthrop Harbor. In addition we built 5 new homes on site where blighted homes once stood. (Gilead, Lenox, Melrose, Brookside and Catalpa). We completed 3 repairs as part of Neighborhood Revitalization. At the ReStore, a solid team kept the store full of products with increased sales bringing much-needed funding to affiliate work.



    2014 - Building in Downtown Chicago and in Lake County
    With Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity we built a house in Pioneer Plaza in Chicago over 4 days. Working together, the 8 Chicago affiliates staged Raise Your Hand Chicagoland in May, an event yielding walls for 13 homes. Of these, walls for 1 house were erected on the plaza for tours. Later the house was completed at 131 Gretta in Waukegan. At the event we built walls for 4 more of our homes. Also, scattered site rehab continued with 4 homes completed. We repaired 1 repair home. Products for the ReStore grew with donations from the Orgill trade show providing 12 trucks of new products.

  • 2015 Building On! New and Rehabs in Lake County and working with Chicagoland Our mix of new and rehab housing continued. We built a new home in Beach Park, our 6th community in Lake County. We completed the rehab of a house built in 1901 at 222 Park in Waukegan, bringing it to current energy and building standards.
    We also completed the rehab of 1107 Victoria, a house built in 1930. In partnership with Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity we built and rehabbed homes across Chicagoland as part of Building On! This program brought CEOs and corporate leaders to our affiliate, along with coverage by Nicole Suarez of Hoy-Telemundo, and WGN.

    2016 Corporate Support and UL International Crown and LPGA Volunteers and supporters created an exciting year with new houses and the rehab of a 100 year old house at 1628 Victoria. UL sponsored a house at 523 Helmholz as part of the UL International Crown in Gurnee in July for the Ladies Professional Golf Tournament.

  • Habitat in Lake County plans to build 6 new and 8 rehab and 12 repairs

    Along with the other Chicagoland affilaites, we will continue BuildingOn!

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Learn the History of Habitat for Humanity International 
http://www.chicagolandhabitat.org/site/Calendar/1050606059?view=Schedule&id=100162#100164

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