Happiness & Homeownership Times Three with Triple Home Dedication

Habitat for Humanity of Dane County dedicated the first three homes of its newest 12-house neighborhood, Tennyson Ridge, on Madison’s northside.
All three families – Chao and KaNhia, Kala, and Khue and Ka – are excited about owning their own homes and living in the northside community.
Chao and KaNhia’s journey to homeownership started in Laos. “During the Vietnam War, we could no longer stay so we relocated to Ban Venai Refugee Camp in Thailand with many other Hmong families,” KaNhia explained, “Living in Ban Venai was one of the saddest times for my family because we weren’t allowed to go outside the refugee camp. In 1996 we came to the United States.”
Once Chao and KaNhia reached the U.S. the family worked hard to build a better life. “Most of my children are already married now and have children of their own,” KaNhia said. “After all of the struggle my family has gone through, we really value each other’s love and support. Though we don’t make enough to have a nice place to live, we have come so far from where we started.”
Kala is a massage therapist and mother of two boys, 14-year-old Jeremiah, and three-year-old Kyrie. “I was raised in Madison by a single mother. My mother worked very hard, sometimes two jobs just to make ends meet. We were always moving from apartment to apartment and changed schools multiple times,” Kala said. “I want to plant roots for my kids by owning a home. I want my kids to always have a place to call home; and a place to come home to.”
“Owning a home has always been a dream that seemed just out of reach,” Kala explained, “Words cannot express how I feel. Beautiful things can happen when people with such big hearts come together and show so much compassion. It makes me see the beauty in the world!”
Khue and Ka married in a refugee camp in Thailand and moved to the U.S. in 2004. They have five children – three boys and two girls.
“All my kids were born here in the U.S. The oldest is 14 and the youngest is three,” Khue said. “We are very proud to be U.S. citizens. Since my family arrived here, we’ve lived in an apartment for the last 14 years. I have always dreamed of owning my own house, for my kids to have their own space, a safe place to live, and have enough space for everyone.”
The homes, sponsored by Old National Bank, Exact Sciences and the Evjue Foundation, marked the 283rd, 284th and 285th Habitat homes built in Dane County, and the first Habitat homes built in the Tennyson Ridge neighborhood.
“Homeownership creates generational change for both the families and the community,” said Habitat CEO Valerie Renk, “I’m confident a project of this size in Tennyson Ridge will have a significant impact for Madison.”
Habitat originally purchased 14 lots in Tennyson Ridge, but sold two lots at cost to the Groundswell Conservancy to expand Lake View Elementary School’s outdoor classroom. This will allow students to explore the outdoors in the area adjacent to the school and learn about nature in ways they otherwise couldn’t.
Learn more about Habitat’s building plans in the Wisconsin State Journal article, Habitat for Humanity plans for growth — and growing land prices.