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Marquette County Habitat for Humanity History

Marquette County Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry seeking to eliminate poverty housing, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people from all walks of life to work together in partnership to build houses with families in need. Since its start in 1992, Marquette County HFH has rehabbed 90 houses throughout Marquette County.

1992 – Affiliate Established

The Marquette County application for affiliation was presented to Millard and Linda Fuller (founders of Habitat for Humanity) during their visit to Marquette in Sept. 1992. MCHFH received official notification of affiliate status from Habitat for Humanity International in November. The first Board of Directors included: Mike Clark, Jim Clements, Brenda Ray, Sally Weingartner, Rev. Larry Lange, Lynn Swadley, Waino Liuha, Heather Mlsna, Bill Davis, Rev. Doug Paterson, Gary Grant, Georgie Maynard, Dick Graybill, and Mike Coyne. Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette became the first Covenant Church and housed the affiliate office.

1993 – First House Built

MCHFH’s first house was built in the city of Marquette on Wilkenson Avenue. Members of the Upper Peninsula Builders Association (which was chartered in 1978 as the Home Builders Association of the Superiorland) framed and roofed the house in one day Habitat “Blitz Build”!

2002 – Michigan Affiliate of the Year

Less than 10 years after building that first home, Marquette County Habitat for Humanity was recognized as Affiliate of the Year in the State of Michigan! A $2,500 award was presented by Governor and Mrs. John Engler at the Awards Banquet held in Lansing.

2003 – ReStore Established

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore became a reality in May in the former LaRue’s Grocery Store in Harvey. Their motto of “Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle” resonated with the people in our community. The store’s profits have allowed us to sponsor at least one home per year. In May 2009 the ReStore reached a milestone with over One Million Dollars in total sales since opening.

2004 – USDA Self-Help Housing Program Started

MCHFH was awarded a $294,000 grant over two years for administrative costs from USDA Self-help Housing. We have been blessed to receive this funding for ten years now. Other funding resources include: MSHDA, FHLBI, HAC-SHOP, Wells Fargo, State Farm and Thrivent Financial.

2005 – Jimmy Carter House Built

Habitat for Humanity International leaders announced in the fall of October 2003 that Michigan was to host the 22nd annual Jimmy Carter Work Project to be held June 19-24, 2005. In Marquette, our 46th house at 1150 Joliet Rd. was designated the “Jimmy Carter House” and was built in South Marquette with the DeStefano family.

2009 – Volunteer Summary

Volunteers are the backbone, and indeed can be considered the most critical piece of the success of the Habitat program. Returning groups include: Norway Grove Memorial Lutheran Church, (Deforest, Wisconsin) Markesan United Methodist, (Markesan, Wisconsin) 1st Presbyterian Church, (Hastings, Michigan) and the ACTION Group from Iowa. HFHI’s RV Care-A-Vanners and the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) programs have also greatly aided our building.

2013 – Milestone of 90 Houses Achieved

In 2013 Marquette County Habitat for Humanity built 6 homes, bringing our total number built in Marquette County to 90! Habitat homes have been built in Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Chocolay Twp., Republic, Champion, Ely Twp., Big Bay, Michigamme, National Mine, Gwinn, Princeton, and Marquette Twp.

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Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. We believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities.

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August, 2020




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