SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) -- A few years ago, Jean Mulilikwa applied for a mortgage.
The single dad wanted to own a home, ditch the apartments so that his son and two daughters could have their own rooms and a place to call their own.
But he was denied.
"Then my friend told me you can apply to Habitat," he said. "They help people who have low income to get houses."
He was officially accepted in 2017, and now three years later, he and his three children are all moved in to their home in Sun Prairie.
"It's always exciting when you set a goal," he said. "You put a deadline and you reach your goal, you are always happy. I said in my head by 2020 I wouldn't live anymore in an apartment and it came true."
The two-story home is the 292nd home built by Habitat for Humanity in Dane County.
In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, homeowners put in more than 300 hours of "sweat equity" toward building their own home. The homeowners also don't have to pay interest on the loan.
Mulilikwa spent more than 400 hours helping build his home. The two-story place is a dream come true for the family of four.
"It's a brand new start," said Mulilikwa's son, Isaac Assaba. "It feels great to be starting someplace new because we've always lived in apartments. Now we've got a house we can live in and don't have to worry about landlords."
They are losing the landlords and the rent, but adding a new kind of joy and happiness that they hope to share with others.
"This Christmas I was in Michigan to see another family," said Mulilikwa's daughter Olga. "They said 'Next Christmas we're going to come to your house and have a big party!' I was like, 'Yes, please come.'"
The home is sponsored by Blackhawk Church.
Mulilikwa and his family are grateful for the freedom the new home brings them as the new decade begins.
"Not many people get the opportunity to say we have our own home," said Sandra, Mulilikwa's youngest daughter.