Dubuque and Jackson County Habitat for Humanity cannot currently accept material donations for the ReStore due to lack of storage space, but financial contributions can be submitted at https://bit.ly/3eNe3q3. For more information about the organization, visit www.habitatdjc.org.
A local nonprofit hopes to open a home improvement resale store, the sales of which will benefit families in need of affordable, quality housing.
Dubuque and Jackson Counties Habitat for Humanity is raising funds to open a ReStore. Such stores sell donated items including building materials, appliances and furniture at discounted prices, with proceeds going toward Habitat for Humanity’s work with local families.
“A ReStore is one of the ways we can help generate funds to build more local houses,” said Erica Haugen, executive director of Dubuque and Jackson Counties Habitat for Humanity.
She said ReStores can generate enough funds to build at least one house per year.
By reclaiming usable items, ReStores also help divert waste from local landfills. This is particularly important to Rachel Daack, secretary on the board of directors for the local Habitat for Humanity.
“The negatives that come from overfilling our landfills … those burdens tend to be borne by persons with the least amount of power in their community and who have the least access to resources, financial or otherwise, that would let them protect themselves from those environmental harms,” she said. “For me, the beauty is that we get to tie those things together.”
Officials began planning for the Dubuque ReStore in 2019. Although the project was delayed because of COVID-19, they learned earlier this year that their proposal was accepted by the international Habitat for Humanity organization.
The organization now seeks a location and hopes to open the store by early 2022. A fundraising goal of $300,000 has been set, and the organization already has received more than $26,000 through an online donation campaign.
When the store opens, it will be fully stocked, thanks to a donation from the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Mount Carmel Bluffs in Dubuque. The BVM sisters donated many items from several buildings on the Mount Carmel campus before they were deconstructed earlier this year as part of a major construction project.
Daack said the materials, which included furniture, cabinets, sinks, toilets, woodwork and more, “would absolutely have been landfilled” were it not for the BVM sisters’ generosity and the time spent by volunteers who collected the items from the campus.
The ReStore will employ two paid staff members, and Habitat for Humanity will seek volunteers to help staff and support the store.
“We hear from so many people, ‘I can’t wait until (the ReStore) opens,’” Haugen said. “Clearly, this is something people are looking for, and we hope we can bring it to them soon.”