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Thousand Islands Area Habitat for Humanity History- seeking to implement the mission in Jefferson and Lewis Counties

1993-Summer: Steering Committee formed

1994-November: Ceremony celebrated our designation as a Habitat for Humanity affiliate

1996-May: Groundbreaking ceremony for first house at 1177 Superior Street, Watertown, NY

1997: First House Dedication

1998: Moved into Office at 328 Woolworth Building, Watertown, NY Rehabilitation of house on Mundy Street – First Lewis County building site is acquired in Lowville, NY –

1999: Dedication of Mundy Street house. Key Bank donates house in Depauville, NY and rehabilitation begins. Groundbreaking ceremony for 7743 West State Street, Lowville, NY. Depauville, NY house completed.

2000: Dedication of Lowville, NY house

2001: Groundbreaking ceremony for 1201 Superior Street, Watertown, NY

2002: Dedication of house in Depauville, NY – Completion of 1201 Superior Street, Watertown, NY. Groundbreaking ceremony for 1213 Superior Street, Watertown, NY. Dedication of 1201 Superior Street, Watertown, NY

2003: Completion of 1213 Superior Street. Groundbreaking ceremony for 508 Mundy Street, Watertown, NY (to replace rehab project due to mold). Groundbreaking ceremony for 1012 Erie Street, Watertown, NY. Dedication of 1213 Superior Street, Watertown, NY

2004: Completion of 508 Mundy Street, Watertown, NY. 1012 Erie Street is completed.

2005: Purcell Construction donated warehouse space to build wall panels for Patterson Road House. Moved 17 completed partitions from Purcell Construction warehouse to Patterson Road site. Acquired Washington Street, Carthage houses for rehabilitation – Acquired second building site in Lowville from Snowbelt Housing

2006: Decision to demolish two Washington Street, Carthage houses. Groundbreaking ceremony at 1018 Erie Street with Project 7 News. Open house and dedication at 23584 Patterson Road. 1018 Erie Street completed & family moves in. 1022 Erie Street started and Project 7 News continued, so many volunteers

2007: 1022 Erie Street completed, family moves in – 5 partner families selected – Record building season! – Car-Freshner corporate build started at 1131 Superior Street, Watertown, NY – Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) donates four lots on Michigan Avenue – Groundbreaking for two houses to be built by Actus Lend Leasing – House dedication for “Tree House” (Car-Freshner build) – two additional partner families selected – Construction begins at North Michigan Avenue properties – Construction begins on the Carthage site – Office space in the Paddock Arcade is donated

2008: Carthage house completed in 4 months. Carthage appreciation event & open house with dedication. City of Watertown donates 4 lots. Groundbreaking at 341 and 345 North Michigan Avenue. House dedication at 337 North Michigan Avenue. Actus Lend Lease recognizes contractors’ efforts on two Superior Street houses. Joint house dedications at 1136 Superior Street & 1144 Superior Street. 333 North Michigan Avenue completed.

2010: 341 and 345 North Michigan Avenue dedications are held. Groundbreaking for 611 Bradley Street, Watertown, NY

2011: Open house and dedication at 611 Bradley Street. Groundbreaking ceremony at 126 West Lynde Street, Watertown, NY

2012: Open house and dedication at 126 West Lynde Street. Groundbreaking completed at 1130 Superior Street, Watertown, NY. Two work trailers destroyed by arson at Superior Street worksite.

2013: Hired part time Executive Director. Groundbreaking at 1130 Superior Street, Watertown, NY. Build site preparation completed at 123 East Lynde Street, Watertown, NY. Open house and dedication at 1130 Superior Street.

2014: Groundbreaking at the Braman Block Project in Carthage, NY with Carthage Savings Bank & Loan donating $75,000 for the build of 6 houses. The 2014 build season will include a complete house at 123 E. Lynde Street, Watertown, NY and foundation work for 2 of the 6 houses at the Braman Block site in Carthage, NY. Moving of office to Space Age Pool site on Route 11. Dedication of 123 E. Lynde St.

2016: Dedication of 4 and 5 Braman Lane. Construction begins at 525 Boyd St.

2017: 525 Boyd St. dedication. Partnership with Lowville Food Pantry to help with building repairs.

2018: Join forces with Neighbors of Watertown to rehabilitate a home in conjunction with the ESPRI program. Volunteers contributed over 265 hours to the project! Rehabilitation of 9599 Beaver Falls Rd. Dedication of home. Grand opening of the new Habitat ReStore on Water Street in Watertown.

2019: Repairs program approved by the Board of Directors. Sponsors and supporters sought to kick off the program by July 1, 2019. Groundbreaking ceremony and work scheduled for 515 Boyd St.

Koinonia Farm

The concept that grew into Habitat for Humanity International was born at Koinonia Farm, a small, interracial, Christian community outside of Americus, Georgia.Koinonia Farm was founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. The Fullers first visited in 1965. They had recently left a successful business and an affluent lifestyle in Montgomery, Alabama to begin a new life of Christian service. At Koinonia, Jordan and Fuller developed the concept of “partnership housing.” The concept centered on those in need of adequate shelter working side by side with volunteers to build simple, decent houses.

The Fund for Humanity

The houses would be built at no profit and interest would not be charged on the loans. Building costs would be financed by a revolving fund called “The Fund for Humanity.” The fund’s money would come from the new homeowners’ house payments, no-interest loans provided by supporters and money earned by fund-raising activities. The monies in the Fund for Humanity would be used to build more houses.

Inception of Habitat for Humanity

In 1968, Koinonia laid out 42 half-acre house sites with four acres reserved as a community park and recreational area. Capital was donated from around the country to start the work. Homes were built and sold to families in need at no profit and no interest. The basic model of Habitat for Humanity was begun.


In 1973, the Fullers decided to apply the Fund for Humanity concept in developing countries. The Fuller family moved to Mbandaka, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo.) The Fullers’ goal was to offer affordable yet adequate shelter to 2,000 people. After three years of hard work to launch a successful house building program, the Fullers returned to the United States.

Expansion into Habitat for Humanity International

In September 1976, Millard and Linda called together a group of supporters to discuss the future of their dream. Habitat for Humanity International as an organization was born at this meeting. The eight years that followed, vividly described in Millard Fuller’s book, “Love in the Mortar Joints,” proved that the vision of a housing ministry was workable. Faith, hard work and direction set HFHI on its successful course.

Phenomenal Growth

In 1984, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn took their first Habitat work trip, the Jimmy Carter Work Project, to New York City. Their personal involvement in Habitat’s ministry brought the organization national visibility and sparked interest in Habitat’s work across the nation. HFHI experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new affiliates around the country.

Habitat Today

Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income families have found new hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem―decent housing for all. Today, Habitat has helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses and served more than 3 million people around the world.