JONESBORO, GA (March 8, 2021) – Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s are partnering to raise awareness of the global need for safe and affordable housing for women during International Women Build Week (March 8-15). On International Women’s Day, Habitat and Lowe’s will kick off more than 300 Women Build projects supporting women-led households across the United States, Canada, and India to drive awareness and address the need.
Women have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, from job loss to evictions and foreclosures. According to The National Women’s Law Center, 80 percent of U.S. jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic were held by women. The United Nations (UN) has reported that 40 percent of all employed women globally work in the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of the families in our pipeline represent the frontline workers who have been hit the hardest by this pandemic. We had to postpone three closings last year and all of the families were comprised of essential workers. Although we are not able to kickoff Women Build Week on the construction site, Southern Crescent Habitat is proud to partner with Lowe’s and women in our community to raise our voices and advocate for affordable housing. Board members to a Superior Court Judge have joined us to create a PSA in the spirit of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, Choose to Challenge,” exclaims Cynthia Jenkins, Southern Crescent Habitat CEO.
Despite the unprecedented challenges women are facing, women remain on the frontlines of the pandemic as essential workers, as caretakers within their households, and too often have to make the difficult decision between maintaining a place to call home and paying for food, health care, childcare, education or reliable transportation. Harvard University’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2020 report revealed that 37.1 million U.S. households spent more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing in 2019, including 17.6 million spending more than 50 percent. The effects of the pandemic have further highlighted the need for safe and affordable housing, as 29 percent of renters and 36 percent of homeowners experienced employment income loss between March and September of 2020.
Stephanie Barber, a Marta employee, knows this story all too well. She is a frontline worker and understands the hardships that women face, especially as a single mother of three. Although her dreams of homeownership were deferred due to the pandemic, she was finally able to close on her home last Summer and is advocating for other women.
This story is not unique. Every day, millions of women face the challenge of a future without adequate, stable housing. This issue underscores the importance of Habitat and Lowe’s efforts to bring awareness to the issue, as well as a partnership focused on ensuring that more women have access to affordable housing.
Lowe’s and Habitat’s partnership began in 2003. To date, the program has brought together more than 143,000 women volunteers who have built or repaired nearly 6,000 houses. Lowe’s has committed more than $78 million to support the global housing nonprofit’s efforts, including the Women Build program, International Women Build Week, and Habitat’s Neighborhood Revitalization program. Lowe’s support of Habitat has helped more than 18,000 Habitat partner families improve their living conditions.
To learn more or join the conversation, visit habitat.org/womenbuild or follow #BuildHer and #WomenBuild on social media to share and view stories from around the world.