Girls Play House. Women Build Them.
3rd Annual Women Build Week, Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads—May 1–12, 2023
Nothing contributes more to a healthy life than a structurally sound roof over your head, preferably in an affordable home in a safe neighborhood. When you are financially secure, you are better equipped to take care of yourself, your family, and your community. Indeed, there is ample data to suggest that children growing up in homes owned by their parents perform better in school and that their parents remain productive members of society when they have a mortgage to pay and property to maintain and protect.
That’s the philosophy behind Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads (SHR), one of over 1,400 affiliate organizations of an Atlanta-based nonprofit that began in 1976 and is now in every state and 69 other countries. There are also 875 Habitat ReStores, including two in South Hampton Roads that accept and sell used furniture, appliances and building materials.
Habitat has an amazing story, but the history is nothing compared to the “present” for a significant number of families, many of them led by single-mothers, that strive for the security that homeownership offers. Yet Habitat does not “give” homes away. Applicants, like everyone else, must qualify to purchase their homes and be approved for a mortgage with monthly payments fixed at no more than 30% of their monthly income.
They also must attend classes on financial literacy and home maintenance. Then, once construction begins, contribute 200 hours of sweat equity by volunteering on home building sites including their own.
Speaking of construction, there can be none without the dedicated cadre of “Red Hat” supervisors and other volunteers who donate their time, their talents, and their hearts into building everything from the foundations, floors, and walls to installing the kitchen cabinets. They even write blessings on the interior stud-walls to provide encouragement to the future residents. It is an emotional day at closing when the first-time home buyers are handed the keys to their new home.
“Red Hats” donate countless hours but also train novice volunteers. They were vital during Habitat SHR’s first two Women Build Weeks. Teams of dedicated women pitched in to help construct a house over a one-week period in the spring.
The 3rd annual event will be two consecutive weeks this coming May 2-13 on the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each of those weeks. Habitat SHR is seeking companies that are either women-owned or want to engage their women employees in this team-building opportunity, which also includes a sponsorship component. Teams have a fulfilling experience and will receive an official Women Build T-shirt, lunch, and SWAG bag full of goodies supplied by sponsors.
For more information on how to get involved, contact Dan Lear at Dan.Lear@shrhabitat.org. Also, ask how to become a member of either the Women Build Club or the Habitat SHR Young Professionals, formed to support the mission through networking and professional development.
There are few opportunities to boost the community and corporate morale better than volunteering through Habitat for Humanity. You get your hands dirty and your soul lifted.