The women of Hampton Roads were fortunate enough to come to Suffolk to be part of a bigger project.
Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads held its second annual Women’s Build Week in Suffolk from June 7-11.
During this week it is about women building houses for other women. The only men seen on the site during this week are the professionals. Professionals help the female volunteers to stay safe and teach them what to do during construction.
“The purpose of Women’s Build Week is to encourage women to come to the job sites and not be intimidated by the men,” said Rainham Rowe, Habitat for Humanity program director. “We want to encourage women to see business as a career choice.
Many of the volunteers were from Plasser American Corporation, an industrial equipment supplier and partner of Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads. Many of the women who came were office workers who usually spend their days behind desks, but they got a chance to try something new this week.
“One thing I appreciate is that we are all community driven,” said Danielle White, project coordinator at Plasser American. “This build is so important in showing women that they are giving back, and Plasser really embraces women in this area.”
Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to pay it forward. This new house was on vacant land that no one was maintaining. Now the lot will have a new home with a new owner bringing more tax money to the city and nicer land in the neighborhood.
“It’s about bringing the community together,” said Frank Hruska, executive director of Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads. “It gives a single mother a new home and the neighborhood and the community as a whole an improvement.”
Donica Miller is the owner of this new home. Miller is leaving Virginia Beach with his two teenage daughters and is thrilled to be a part of it.
“I am very happy,” Miller said. “It feels good to see volunteers assemble my house. I just feel very blessed.
Habitat for Humanity owners have specific requirements to obtain this home. Not only must they demonstrate good credit and the ability to pay the mortgage, but they must also invest 200 hours of sweat capital in their homes and other Habitat for Humanity homes. It is part of the Habitat for Humanity philosophy to lend a hand rather than a donation. Homeowners must also receive financial education to ensure their success in processing their new mortgage.
“I want to thank everyone who built my house,” Miller said. “It’s greatly appreciated and I hope the volunteers understand the impact they have on families.
Homeownership is one way to break the cycle of poverty, according to Habitat for Humanity. Children of homeowners are 25% more likely to graduate from high school, twice as likely to graduate from college, and 60% more likely to own their own home.