Come summer, Fitchburg residents Mostafa Chater, his wife Rajaa and three kids Zainab, 11, Ismail, 8, and Bilal, 3, will move into their newly constructed house at 4610 Unity Lane.
That was why Chater told the Star he moved to America from Morocco in the first place — for his family to have opportunities like owning a home, getting an education and obtaining a fulfilling occupation.
In a partnership between the Operation Fresh Start Legacy program and Habitat for Humanity of Dane County, the Chater family is having its future home erected in Fitchburg’s Renaissance on the Park neighborhood. A Habitat news release states OFS staff officially picked up hammers at the construction site in December, starting on a four bedroom house.
“It’s an extremely important partnership for us to be together,” Cory Rich, OFS construction and conservation manager told the Star. “There’s not a lot of organizations dedicated to affordable housing in the area.”
Rich said this isn’t the first time the two organizations have worked together on projects. Habitat for Humanity wished to break ground on some of its projects, but not many construction organizations in Dane County work in the winter like OFS.
He said as of Thursday, Jan. 30, the house still needed siding, gutters and the entirety of the interior had yet to be finished — but everything is on track to finish around July.
OFS Legacy program participant Xavier Covarrubias, who has been with the organization for nine months, said he is happy to be building a home for the Chater family.
“I’ve been homeless before,” the 17 year old said. “If there’s one less person out on the streets, that’s a good feeling.”
Chater said he is beyond excited to move into his new home.
The family came to American in October 2009, and Chafer recollected not knowing any English, which was scary for him.
But he had a close friend here who helped him find a job at a Cheesecake Factory in Chicago. He also had his wife, his good luck charm, as he called her. Six months before they were accepted into a lottery program for an American green card, the two were wed.
Then in 2017, Chater was presented with the opportunity to move his family to Madison.
“I met with my friends here and they talked to me about the Habitat for Humanity program,” he said.
The family applied for a home, and Habitat for Humanity staff approved right away. And Chater now works as a kitchen manager at a Madison Cheesecake Factory location.
Like OFS staff, Habitat for Humanity families also work on the construction sites, each having 375 volunteer hours to satisfy, Jenny Ballweg, Habitat for Humanity communications director said. And the mortgage each family pays on the houses they own in the Renaissance on the Park neighborhood go back into building more homes for people in need.
“Each family is a chain,” Ballweg said.