Habitat for Humanity celebrates International Women's Day: National Women Build event
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Wednesday was International Women's Day, and to celebrate, Habitat for Humanity kicked off their "National Women Build."
It's a month-long campaign supporting women all across the U.S. and in the greater Charlottesville area. This year's women build has over 150 local volunteers throughout the month, and more than 100 of those volunteers are women.
The goal is to help local families build safe, affordable and spacious homes in the Southwood Redevelopment. The women out on the project site Wednesday worked on installing dry-wall, cutting out windows, and more to make sure that this home is move-in ready.
This event happens every year. Getting female volunteers was easier than expected.
"So, we just said, we want to invite women out to the build site, and everyone stepped up and said, I want to come to the build site. So, today, we have a group of 10. We have 12 coming tomorrow and 13 coming on Friday. And we'll have even more as we get deeper into the month too,” volunteer program and event manager for Habitat for Humanity Greater Charlottesville, Natalie Burgwin said.
"National Women Build" was started by Habitat in 1991. And habitat continues to welcome all women who want to learn how to build a home, with or without experience.
For one volunteer, construction might feel like a "male dominated field.” But, this month-long event makes everyone feel welcomed. Especially women in the area.
"If you don't have a lot of preexisting knowledge, it may feel intimidating. And it may feel like, I'll volunteer but I might be the only woman on the crew, and that might not be very exciting. So, to know that during this month, we're putting the word out into this community, we're bringing in women who have the experience to lead folks who are newer at it in the task. Just feels very empowering. And it's super cool to do it with a group of women. To have just sort of that camaraderie in a non-tradition space,” Habitat volunteer, Ryan McCarthy said.
At the Southwood Redevelopment site, there are condos, town-homes and single-family homes. Giving home-buyers or renters different options to choose from.
The first 33 houses are currently under construction. Habitat will build over 300 affordable homes with mortgages that will not exceed 30% of a home buyer's income. This redevelopment site will take roughly 20 years to complete.
Habitat is also working with the Piedmont Housing Alliance to bring affordable rental units to Charlottesville, known as Hickory Hope Apartments.