PUBLISHED: 11:49 AM on Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Women Crews Build Homes and Dreams
(NUI) - With hammers in hand, women across the country are coming together to build homes and better futures with families in need.

Habitat for Humanity International's Women Build program, sponsored by Lowe's, a home improvement retailer, is working to make homeownership a reality. The organization trains women volunteers and the future owners of Habitat homes to construct and maintain simple, decent and affordable homes.

"We have seen so many positive changes through the women Build program, not only in the lives of the new homeowners, but in the lives of the volunteers," said Fiona Eastwood, director of women Build. "Women from all walks of life are picking up tools, determined to build a better future for our nation's children and leave a legacy of volunteerism."

Women Build is not about excluding men, however. It's about including women who have a willingness to learn new things and meet new people.

According to Eastwood, women are often intimidated on a "mixed" construction site. At a women Build site, she says women are able to quickly and comfortably learn construction skills.

In a recent survey conducted by Lowe's and Habitat for Humanity, women most often cited their desire to help children and families in need as a motive for volunteering. Another reason they often cited was the desire to improve their communities and neighborhoods.

Habitat houses are sold at no profit to partner families and are financed with no-interest mortgages that are issued for 15 to 30 years. House payments go into the "Fund for Humanity" to be used to build more Habitat for Humanity homes. More than 150 homes - an increase of 50 percent over last year - will be built this year by women crews.

"We're proud to partner with Habitat in supporting women who help families move out of substandard housing into their own home, where they can enjoy the dignity that every family deserves," said Larry Stone, chairman of the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, one of the program sponsors.