"We're just happy to be available:" Habitat for Humanity deconstructs homes for a good cause

MILWAUKEE -- It's not what they're known for -- but Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity is busy deconstructing homes and salvaging the items -- all for a good cause.

"They're actually working on the hardwood floors, doing vanities, bathrooms right now as well, the kitchen cabinets are being pulled," said Jake Weiler, deconstruction manager for Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity.

A home in Whitefish Bay is literally being torn apart.

"We're just happy to be available so this material doesn't get tossed in the dump," said Jake Brandt, marketing manager for Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity.

The home in Whitefish Bay is a Milwaukee's Habitat for Humanity deconstruction project.

Volunteers are working to gather what they can salvage and Habitat for Humanity will then sell the materials at their ReStores. The proceeds go towards building affordable housing for local families.

"In this house, there is a furnace, there is AC, there is a water heater, there is a dishwasher, there is a fridge, there is a stove -- so all those things are on our 'yes list,'" said Wieler.

Most of the deconstruction projects are homes -- but volunteers work on commercial buildings too. Doing it is really a win-win, because the homeowner gets a tax deduction and they save on waste removal fees.

"The majority of materials in our local landfills is construction waste," said Brandt.

Instead of being thrown away, the items are being re-purposed for new owners.

"We work anywhere from six to eight hours. The results are amazing. The reward is what it is all about," said Cindy Gear, volunteer.

The Habitat for Humanity Deconstruction Program has been in Milwaukee for about four years. Volunteers have salvaged nearly $1 million worth of items from homes and businesses.

The property owners pay Habitat for Humanity a $250 deconstruction fee.