Approximately 30 local women have learned home improvements skills and volunteer to build a home for a neighbor in need on a Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity construction site in recognition of National Women Build Week, May 3-11.
Now in its seventh year, National Women Build Week challenges women to devote at least one day to help build affordable housing in their local communities. The week also spotlights the homeownership challenges faced by women.
“We have had a very strong group of Women Build volunteers in Pierce County,” says Women Build Team Leader, Alison Paradise. “Last year we had almost 40 women on site, working on several different projects. It is a great opportunity for women to learn what building a house is all about, and to learn some skills they can take back to their own homes, and to work alongside a low-income family working towards a better future.”
The volunteers worked on Habitat homes under construction in the Tillicum neighborhood of the city of Lakewood. It is estimated that over half the population of Tillicum lives in poverty, and very few houses are owner-occupied. In 2009, Lakewood announced it would partner with Habitat for Humanity to provide affordable homeownership opportunities in Tillicum. To date, Habitat for Humanity has built eight new homes in Tillicum, as well as provided affordable repair services to three low-income homeowners in the neighborhood.
Actress and author Holly Robinson Peete will help build a new home in Los Angeles County. Peete, a mother of four, is the national spokesperson for National Women Build Week 2014 and a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity.
“I am delighted to once again support National Women Build Week and look forward to building alongside the amazing women who take part in this special event,” said Peete. “A home provides such a strong foundation for families, and this week offers great opportunities for women to join together, learn new skills and help families in need of affordable housing.”
Lowe’s helped launch National Women Build Week in 2008 and each year provides the support of Lowe’s Heroes and conducts how-to clinics at stores to teach volunteers construction skills. Lowe’s donated $1.75 million to this year’s National Women Build Week, including a $5,000 store gift card to Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity, as part of a new five-year partnership with Habitat that will bring Lowe’s total contributions to more than $63 million since 2003. In celebration of this renewed partnership, Lowe’s and Habitat launched Hammers for Habitat, a volunteer initiative inviting men and women across America to give one day to help make the dream of homeownership a reality for a family in their community. To learn more, visit Habitat.org/Lowes.
“As part of National Women Build Week, we’re encouraging women across America to raise a hammer to help create safe and affordable housing in partnership with local families,” said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe’s director of community relations. “We thank our Lowe’s Heroes and the thousands of volunteers who will help strengthen communities throughout the country this week.”
The U.S. Census Bureau reports more than 16.1 million children are living in poverty in the United States. Nearly 24 percent of children reside with women heads-of-household. The United Way of Pierce County estimates that 13% of families with children in Pierce County are living in poverty.
Habitat’s Women Build program recruits, educates and inspires women to build and advocate for simple, decent and affordable homes in their communities. Since the program was created in 1998, more than 2,200 homes have been built in partnership with low-income families using Women Build crews. More than 52,000 women from all 50 states have volunteered at the six previous Women Build Week events.
For more information on Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program, and to learn about Women Build projects in communities across the U.S., visit Habitat.org/wb or the National Women Build Week tab on www.facebook.com/habitat.