Coming home: Habitat for Humanity holds groundbreaking
by Margaret Hurlbert
April 15, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa–For their whole lives, Kory and Mindy Ross have called Muscatine home. However, the family never quite found themselves in a position to buy their own home, a challenge for a family of six plus a foster child.” Kory and I both grew up in Muscatine for all these years and had all our kids here,” shared Mindy Ross. “We always rented, and it was a struggle.”

Now, thanks to Muscatine County Area Habitat for Humanity, the family will soon get to come home to their very own house at the corner of Seventh Street and Oak Street in Muscatine. Sunday April 11, Habitat for Humanity celebrated the start of construction on the Ross’ home (the 13th one the organization will help build) with a groundbreaking ceremony.

A non-profit organization funded completely by donations, Habitat for Humanity works with families who may otherwise struggle to purchase a first home build a simple yet suitable house. As part of the process, the family will commit to putting a certain number of hours of labor into building the home. Because the Rosses have a large family (three of their children and their foster daughter still live at home) their one story ranch home will have three bedrooms on the main floor and one in the basement.

The first home Habitat for Humanity has worked on in two years, the groundbreaking attracted many civic leaders, including Muscatine Mayor Brad Bark, Representative Mark Cisneros, Senator Mark Lofgren, and Muscatine County Supervisor Santos Saucedo. Each of them expressed excitement at the start of the project and how it will tie into the City of Muscatine, Muscatine County, and the State of Iowa’s broader goals for expanding the amount of housing available.

In the next few years, both the City of Muscatine and Muscatine County plan to continue housing projects in the area around the Ross’ new house. Bark and Saucedo both look forward to the completion of these goals. Saucedo observed, “in the next two to three years we’re going to revitalize all these blocks.”

“I love all these bodies coming together,” said Bark, remarking on how private organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the work of the city and county will synergize to improve housing in the area.

With a wider focus, Lofgren shared that Habitat for Humanity’s current build and the renovation and restoration projects coming to neighboring areas will help the State of Iowa meet its goal for increasing the number of units of housing available. Currently, Lofgren said the state looks to add 60 thousand units of housing across the state. Lofgren also wished the family well, as he recalled the experience of having his own first home.

On a personal level, Cisneros congratulated the Rosses on having this opportunity, as his family has known them for many years. “When my family moved to Muscatine, this family were some of the first friends we made,” he reminisced.

To round out the groundbreaking, Habitat for Humanity said a short prayer for the project and the family themselves officially broke the ground on their lot. In about six months, material availability permitting, they look forward to finishing their house only blocks away from where Mindy Ross lived years ago in a house that MCSA recently renovated. Mindy shared that she most looks forward to, “having a home that’s mine,” so that she and her family can finally have a place to call their own.

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