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Local volunteers join women across the United States to create affordable housing
Women volunteers, Mayor Bill Finch, Sonya Finch, Mary Himes, Cynthia Blumenthal, Habitat CFC and Lowe’s Heroes, raised their hammers for a Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County (Habitat CFC) home in recognition of National Women Build Week. National Women Build Week, held May 5-13, is a nationwide initiative of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program developed in partnership with Lowe’s.
This year’s theme, “The Build Generation,” reflects the event’s goal to recruit and train women volunteers, as well as welcome the next generation of Habitat Women Builders – young women, ages 18-24 – to help support Habitat’s mission to create affordable housing. Women volunteers from across Fairfield County kicked-off construction on Habitat CFC’s 8th Women Build sponsored home. Lowe’s is providing Habitat CFC a $5,000 Lowe’s store gift card, as well as in-store volunteer training to support of this Habitat for Humanity Women Build home.
Nearly 100 volunteers, including groups from General Electric’s Women’s Corporate Networking Group, RBS, IBM, Lowe’s of Milford, JoZ Events and Her Haven framed and raised walls on the 8th Women Build sponsored home being built on Whittier Street in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport. This build represents an expansion of Habitat’s services to a new neighborhood in Bridgeport after the successful execution of 130 homes in the East Side. In their 27 year history, Habitat CFC has served more than 650 individuals through the construction of 165 homes across Fairfield County.
“Whether it’s with donations or elbow grease, the contributions to Women Build has a significant, meaningful impact on families in a way that empowers them to succeed and transforms them into tax-paying contributors to our shared community,” said Mary Petro, who co-chairs Habitat CFC’s Women Build committee with Mary Ellen Gallagher.
E! News correspondent and long-time Habitat supporter Kristina Guerrero, whose mother built her home in partnership with an affordable-housing organization in 1998, is building with her mother, sister and 25 women volunteers, in Los Angeles.
“My mom, brothers, sisters and I are living proof of the difference affordable housing can make in a family’s life,” said Guerrero. “I encourage all women to find ways to join Habitat this week. Whether it’s building alongside other volunteers or helping to recruit or train new volunteers, every effort helps families realize their dreams of homeownership. Through working together, we can make a difference in the lives of low-income families in need of affordable housing.”
Lowe’s, underwriter of Habitat’s Women Build program, has committed more than $1.3 million to National Women Build Week in support of 275 participating affiliates. National Women Build Week is one of the major initiatives supported through Lowe’s five-year, $20 million pledge to Habitat. As the underwriter of the Women Build program since 2004, Lowe’s conducts “How-To” clinics at stores to teach women construction skills, enabling them to support Habitat projects across the country. Habitat CFC and Lowe’s of Milford hosted a “How-To” clinic to prepare women volunteers to build in Bridgeport.
“Lowe’s has been the proud sponsor of Habitat’s Women Build program since 2004,” said Marshall Croom, chairman of the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “Women Build encourages women from all ages and walks of life to pick up their hammers and build affordable homes alongside local families. Lowe’s salutes all the women volunteers who take time to build this week and values the difference Lowe’s and Habitat are making in the lives of families across the nation.”
The U.S. Census Bureau reports more than 12 million children—one out of every six—are living in poverty in the United States, where more than 70 percent of Habitat’s U.S. houses are built in partnership with women heads-of-household. According to a report on housing published by the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, virtually every family rental apartment or condominium developed in Bridgeport since 2005 or currently under construction is not affordable to Bridgeport’s families earning up to 80% of the Bridgeport area median income, which in 2010 is $86,600. Habitat’s Women Build program recruits, educates and inspires women to build and advocate for simple, decent and affordable houses in their communities. Since the inception of Habitat’s Women Build program in 1998 more than 1,900 Habitat for Humanity Women Build houses have been constructed in partnership with low-income families.
Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. The company’s signature education grant program, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education®, has donated nearly $5 million in grants to K-12 public schools every year since its inception in 2006. Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers support local community projects and our national nonprofit partners such as Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. In 2011, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $32 million to support communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God’s love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitat.org, or follow us at http://www.facebook.com/habitator at http://www.twitter.com/habitat_orgor join Habitat’s blog community at www.habitat.org/blog.