A housing program created by the city of La Crosse works to re-build homes in some of our older neighborhoods. This year, it's also bringing an early Christmas present to one deserving family.

Keeley McConaughey has always needed space - and after a car accident left her paralyzed from the neck down and constrained to a wheelchair, her old home didn't offer enough of it.

But the city's Housing Rehabilitation program has helped her gain more space in the form of a brand-new two-bedroom home on 10th Street.

"We haven't had space like this in a long time," McConaughey said.

The program works by ripping down old, dilapidated houses and replacing them with new, affordable ones for low-income families. City employees have built 42 homes in the last decade under the program. Five more are under construction, and at least another 10 are planned for in the coming years.

"We try to work in neighborhoods like this one where they need some uplifting, some new homes, and we try to built a home that's attractive for a family to move into," said Caroline Neilsen, an employee of the city's Planning Department.

The city helped McConaughey and her mother Patricia finance the home.  They were able to move in a few days before Christmas.

"If you're looking for optimistic people right now, we're just the most optimistic, go get 'em people right now," McConaughey said. "This is fantastic. This is more than fantastic."