A team stands in front of their DIY doghouse

A Habitat ReStore DIY doghouse fundraiser unites dogs, homes and a community

A Habitat for Humanity Restore in Illinois discovered a winning combination for bringing its community together — do-it-yourself projects, dogs and a good cause.

This past September, Habitat ReStore Manager Heidi and the team at Will County Habitat for Humanity organized their annual event: Homes for the Hounds.

The event prompts participants to build DIY doghouses from recycled materials. Teams made up of firefighters, police officers, families, students, and members of churches, organizations and businesses work side by side in a friendly competition.

“The event hoped to simulate the feel of building a Habitat home, but on a much smaller scale,” Heidi said.

Each year, the community wholeheartedly embraces the idea, with hundreds of people attending the event and visiting the store.

Creativity and passion in every creation

The teams come together to pour creativity and passion into each of their creations.

An eco-friendly doghouse built by a team from G&W Electric Company won the judges’ choice award this past year. The house features solar-powered lights and bushels of plants on the roof.

 G&W Electric Company won the judges’ choice award.

After the houses are built, the Habitat ReStore team displays the community’s handiwork in the store. Over the next two weeks, the public votes for their favorite as well as places bids on the doghouses they want to take home. The funds from the doghouse bids go toward the Habitat ReStore.

In a wonderful display of support, over 2,000 people voted online for their favorite house. 

The Joliet Police Department's filing department, who went by Pup Squad for their team name, won the people’s choice award. This team built a Snoopy doghouse, complete with a wooden Snoopy and Woodstock as well as a propeller that turns. 

Snoopy doghouse, complete with a wooden Snoopy and Woodstock.

When a man in his 70s bought the thousand-pound house, he was stumped as to how he would get it to his backyard. Luckily, the Pup Squad came to the rescue with a trailer and helped bring their creation to its new home. 

Working with other community organizations

While the teams supply the houses, P.A.W.S. of Tinley Park brings the hounds. The no-kill animal shelter collaborates with the Habitat ReStore and brings several dogs to the event to encourage participants to adopt. For this event, the shelter brought several dogs that were rescued from the flooding in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey. 

A pet photographer, K9s for Warriors — an organization that provides service canines to veterans who are seeking one — and even a NASCAR driver also attended the latest Homes for the Hounds.

With sponsorships, team donations and doghouse sales, the Habitat ReStore raised thousands of dollars.  

Proceeds from Habitat ReStores help Habitat build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.

In this way, not only do events like Homes for the Hounds bring communities together, but they also help people become a part of Habitat’s mission.

Inspired by this community’s creations?
Inspired by this community’s creations?

Head to your local Habitat ReStore to see what materials you can transform.