A La Crosse family is moving into their new home thanks to the La Crosse Promise Program. The family is the second family to capitalize on a program that provides affordable home ownership with funding for education.
A new home is being offered along with $50,000 dollars in scholarships for higher education.
The Johnson family is the second family to work with La Crosse Promise Program. Wednesday the family of four moved in to their new home that they built on an empty lot in one of La Crosse's struggling neighborhoods. It's all part of an effort to revitalize the neighborhood and the Johnsons say they are happy to help.
A La Crosse family will have a cozy house on South 9th Street to call home. Phillip Johnson admits that at first he wasn't thinking about the community but how to better his family. "What a concept. The city has come up with something where you can be working for yourself, which you should be, and your family to provide a nice home and a college education at the same time, you don't even know it but you're participating in community development or being a part of a community movement so I really think that that's a new concept and they're on to something," said Johnson.
The floors, windows and stairs are all new...built from the bottom up on an empty lot. It's a big move for the family with small but significant changes for son Lucas. "It's a lot better because I don't have to ride the bus or ride my bike to school. It's nice and I like having my own room away from my brother," said Lucas Johnson.
In their former house, the family had less space and even shared a bathroom. Celine Donofrio, Lucas' mother, said while the house is a modest one, it's theirs.
"It's totally like this is awesome to have this space that we had a hand in making the boys too..but mostly I love La Crosse so anything that supports making it a better community is going to be pretty exciting," said Donofrio.
The family will also receive $25,000 for each of the couples two sons for college.
"I don't know about other parents but that whole looming how are we going to make college work when you're committed to it you know you will but anything that's gonna help will be appreciated," said Donofrio.
Donofrio says the house still needs a few finishing touches...but love, family and the promise of a bright future have already made it their home.
Families participating in the program must live in the Promise Home for at least four years.
For more information go to LaCrossePromise.org.