NEW ULM - Even if it will arrive too late for Christmas, New Ulm residents Lonnie Bronstad and Niki Gendron will be getting the ultimate holiday gift this year: a brand new home built by Habitat for Humanity for them and their five young boys.
The dedication ceremony was held in the new home on Saturday. This is the ninth home Habitat for Humanity home has built in New Ulm. The final touches on the home, which will allow the family to move in, will be completed on Dec. 28 after construction delays bumped it back from its pre-Christmas completion date.
Gendron said she was overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the chance to own the new home. She said her family of seven previously rented a house on Spring Street, but the size ended up being much too small for them.
Staff photo by Josh Moniz
A New Ulm family of seven beam with pride at the Saturday dedication ceremony of their new Habitat for Humanity home at 531 Pfaender Drive. Pictured: (left to right, back) Lonnie Bronstad holding Cameron and Niki Gendron holding his twin Carter. In front, children Dylan, Tucker and Levi.
Habitat for Humanity selects people for homes based on low income guidelines similar to HUD's public housing criteria, with the added stipulation of the applicants' previous living area no longer being suitable.
"We were kind of living on top of each other," said Gendron, "I didn't see this happening in the near future. We're really blessed."
Gendron said she and Bronstad plan to use the stability to start pursuing their college education for future career options.
Sarah Rotering, executive director of Minnesota Valley Habitat for Humanity, said the home is the largest home project her organization has completed, and the family is the largest family the local organization had served. The four-room, two-bathroom home also featured a downstairs family-room area. The typical Habitat for Humanity home is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom setup. The larger size project was built to accommodate both the family and requirements on how many live in any given room.
The home, located at 531 Pfaender Drive, was one of two Milford Heights Addition lots the New Ulm Economic Development Authority sold off for $12,500 each to Habitat to build homes. The area was set up by the City of New Ulm for low-income housing, but the 2008 economic downturn has held back the selling-off of the lots. Rotering said the area was a great fit for Habitat homes, and that the lots were purchased to restore the organization's building area for homes.
The home was built for around $100,000. The typical Habitat home costs around $85,000 to $100,000 to build. The project was completed in two years, which is Habitat's average timeline for raising the funds and completing the work on a home.
Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.