Hammers and nails? Check.
Safety goggles and hard hats? Check.
Once volunteers were armed with the necessary building and safety equipment, they were ready to build and improve hundreds of homes across the globe as part of International Women Build Week.
To highlight the global need for women’s access to safe and affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity, Lowe’s and thousands of women volunteers united for events in 235 communities in the U.S., India and Canada for International Women Build Week. A prelude to International Women’s Day, the global event is focused on building and improving homes and raising awareness of affordable housing issues facing women and their families.
Every day, people across the world are faced with the difficult task of finding one of life’s most basic requirements – a home. In the U.S., more than 18 million families spend half of more of their income on a place to live, and nearly one-third of women-headed households with children are below the poverty level.
“In many cases, housing-challenged families make tradeoffs just to pay rent which includes sacrificing food, healthcare, transportation and other basic household needs,” explained Laura Belcher, President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity Charlotte. “Habitat for Humanity provides families with a hand up through a mortgage they can afford, ensuring they have the financial ability to meet their family’s needs and not have to make these difficult choices.”
Since partnering with Habitat in 2003, Lowe’s has committed more than $70 million to support the nonprofit. During International Women Build Week, volunteers constructed and improved 540 homes and shared inspiring stories, experiences and ways to build women up using #BuildHer.
“This global event enabled Habitat and Lowe’s to provide tools for women to empower and educate themselves on skills used when repairing and restoring homes,” said Jennifer Thayer, regional vice president of operations. “Together, Lowe’s and Habitat are providing safe, affordable housing while helping support women in their goal to become homeowners.”
One of those future homeowners was Charlotte resident Latawnya Thomas. After passing Habitat for Humanity’s application process, construction on Latawnya’s home was began during International Women Build Week and should be completed later this year.
“Habitat has given me a newfound me and I’m really thankful to be going through this process,” Latawnya said. “I’m humbled.”
“We’re extremely grateful for Lowe’s support and partnership,” added Belcher. “The impacts of Lowe’s giving, and the volunteer efforts of red vest associates play a major role in combatting the affordable housing crisis here in Charlotte.”
To participate in Women Build volunteer opportunities available across the country and throughout the year, click here. To share and view stories from this year’s International Women Build Week, follow #BuildHer and #WomenBuild on social media.