Women Build expands access to homeownership

“If I had a hammer,

I’d hammer in the morning,

I’d hammer in the evening,

All over this land.”

The folk song in the 1960s became an anthem for equality and justice. The hammer in the song was a metaphor for the power to promote justice and equality. It was a song of sacrifice, of struggle and of hope.

It’s the kind of song that embodies the mission and goal of Women Build, the popular Habitat for Humanity tradition that helps provide affordable, adequate housing for rent-burdened female heads of households and single parents.

Too often women heading their households struggle mightily and make untold sacrifices to keep their families intact and secure a decent place to live.

Through Women Build events, women from all walks of life are coming together to build Habitat for Humanity homes across the U.S. and around the Pensacola area.

Woman Build challenges women to address the problem of substandard housing in the U.S. and become a part of the solution. The projects provide an opportunity for women to feel comfortable learning skills they might not otherwise have to the chance to learn.

The third annual Women Build in Pensacola kicks off at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at So Gourmet Kitchenry, 407-D South Palafox Street.

It starts with a group of builders — and the family who will buy the first home built — shining a spotlight on Pensacola Habitat’s important initiative to bring more women into fold to expand access to affordable homeownership in this community.

The National Women Build Week in 2015 celebrated its seventh year with some 15,000 women volunteering at more than 300 events across the country to build more than 2,500 homes.

Women Build is also working with nongovernment organizations in developing countries to assist them in bringing the full rights of homeownership to women.

Pensacola Habitat has organized 126 builders and 11 teams to raise $72,000 to construct a home for a local family.

The money to cover the cost of building the home will be raised between the date of the Women Build kickoff celebration on Thursday, and the campaign deadline on Oct. 7. The actual construction of the home runs from Oct. 15 through Oct. 22.

Woman Build encourages women to give back to their community, which in the long run helps Pensacola Habitat make a difference in the lives of low-income families and single parents seeking the American Dream of owning a home.

In Escambia County, 25 percent of families with a female head of household live in poverty, and 35 percent of them have children under the age of 28 in the home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The main goal of Women Build is not meant to exclude men, but to include more women who may not always feel confident or comfortable volunteering at what is often a male-dominated construction site.

This project highlights women for various professions and honors the hard-working women who work in construction trades, while providing a family with a place of their own to call home.

“This initiative is important because it will allow Pensacola Habitat to build one more home for one more family,” said Siobhan Gallagher, Women Build Leadership team member. “It brings many local women into the dialogue of the importance of community development. The feeling of strength and empowerment that comes with knowing that we built a home together is incredible.”