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Habitat for Humanity International's History

Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller. Today, Habitat for Humanity is a true world leader in addressing the issues of poverty housing.

Through the work of Habitat, thousands of low-income homeowners have found hope in the form of affordable housing. Churches, community groups and others have joined together to successfully tackle a significant social problem—to provide decent housing for all. Since its inception, Habitat for Humanity has built or repaired over 1 million homes, serving more than 5 million people worldwide.

Read more about Habitat for Humanity International's history.

Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County's History

Over twenty-five years ago, inspired by the need for affordable housing in the community, Dave Anderson, Bob Loucks, and John Aponte, of Alexandria, held a meeting in the basement of First Lutheran Church. The group worked diligently for more than a year to become a recognized 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. On January 31, 1997, Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County, Minnesota was established.  

Looking back on Habitat Douglas County’s twenty-five years, it is inspiring to see how far the organization has come through hard work, dedication, and passion. While many pieces of the organization have transformed, the intangibles have remained steady: the heart of Habitat volunteers, the generosity of donors, the leadership of the board of directors and committee members, and the ambition of homeowner families.

Thank you for building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter for local families!

  • 1996

    A few committed people start meeting and contact Habitat for Humanity International to learn more about the process to establish a local affiliate.

  • January 31, 1997
    January 31, 1997

    Habitat is formally incorporated under the laws of the state of Minnesota with a local board of directors. First Lutheran Church provides space for the first Habitat office.

  • March 1997
    March 1997

    Board selects Central America (Nicaragua) as tithe partner by donating 10% of general contributions to help support the building of homes internationally.

  • 1998

    A home was donated and moved to Osakis. Volunteers, including Alexandria Technical College carpentry students, were recruited to rehab the home. DECA students from Jefferson High School host an open house. The first home dedication was celebrated

  • 2001

    Tastefully Simple donated funds and volunteers to build the fourth home. Walls were constructed in the Tastefully Simple warehouse. This generous donation also provided funding to buy five additional lots and build a construction warehouse on a donated piece of land, which was unsuitable for a home.

  • 2002

    Habitat board of directors worked with a business consultant to develop a three-year strategic plan.

  • 2004

    The Habitat board of directors hires the first employee, Lori Anderson, as Executive Director. The office moves to a 400 square foot office at First State Bank in Alexandria. Habitat participates in the AmeriCorps VISTA program to expand capacity and participates in the program for 10 years.

  • 2005

    Habitat celebrates the dedication of the 10th home.

  • 2006

    Habitat is selected to participate in the Thrivent Builds program. The program increases capacity and Habitat expands to building three homes annually. The first Hard Hat Breakfast is held. Habitat moves to a new office at 911 Hwy 29 N, Alexandria.

  • 2007

    Millard Fuller, Founder of Habitat for Humanity International, is the keynote speaker at the Hard Hat Breakfast.

  • 2008

    Habitat adopts a 12 day build schedule to optimize scheduling volunteers and increase capacity to build more homes. Additional crew leaders are recruited from the faith community.

  • 2011

    Seven volunteers from Douglas County travel to Cambodia to participate in an international build.

  • 2012

    Habitat’s first all-women-built house is completed in Alexandria. Habitat participates in a Blitz Build, building two homes in one week.

  • Habitat purchases a 12,500 sq ft. building for office and future ReStore space at 1211 N Nokomis NE, Alexandria.

  • May 2014
    May 2014

    The ReStore opens and exceeds first-year business plan thanks to community support.

  • 2016

    Habitat celebrates serving the 50th family!

  • 2017

    Habitat launches the Aging in Place program - affordable repairs for those age 65+ focusing on safety, accessibility and other minor repairs.

  • 2018

    Habitat celebrates the new ReStore entrance and parking lot with a ribbon-cutting. Habitat Douglas County is 5th in the nation based on 5-year construction trends for homeownership and repairs among similar-sized affiliates.

  • Habitat sells current construction warehouse and uses funds to build new warehouse putting in motion the vision to create a Habitat campus.

  • 2019

    The first homeowner to pay off her Habitat mortgage celebrates at the Hard Hat Breakfast by shredding her mortgage.

  • 2020

    Habitat secures a dedicated Aging in Place van and tools to better serve the fast-growing program projects.

  • Habitat continues to strengthen its community partnerships by working with youth through the Cardinal Build, Alexandria CAPS students, and DECA program.

  • DECA students chose to work with Habitat for their Community Giving project. They launched the text-to-give program and raised $10,000 to achieve a matching grant from State Farm.

  • 2021

    Habitat celebrates important milestones by serving the 100th family locally, the 100th family internationally, and the 20th home built in partnership with the Thrivent Faith Builds program.

  • January 31, 2022
    January 31, 2022

    Habitat celebrates 25 years of building strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter in Douglas County.

  • Our Aging in Place program celebrates 5 years of improving the safety and accessibility of homes in Douglas County.

  • 2023

    The Alexandria City Council approved a planned unit development enabling Habitat to build 42 homes in Summer Meadows. The City Council also approved TIF financing to support the construction of the development.

  • 2024

    Executive Director, Lori Anderson, celebrates 20 years of service with Habitat.

  • Habitat Office
    Habitat Office

    1211 N Nokomis NE
    Alexandria, MN 56308

    Office Hours:
    8 am - 5 pm

  • ReStore

    1211 N Nokomis NE
    Alexandria, MN 56308

    Store Hours:
    9 am - 5 pm

    Donation Hours:
    Call 320-759-1989
    to schedule