Women donned pink hardhats and nail sacks before picking up hammers and working for a few hours Wednesday morning at Habitat for Humanity’s 57th house in Delaware County.
The women, who were city of Delaware employees, along with Habitat staff and volunteers, took part in the effort as part of the organization’s annual “National Women Build Week.” The Women Build program is a partnership between Habitat and Lowe’s that invites women to spend at least one day working on a Habitat home, and more than 23,000 women are expected to participate nationwide.
“By the end of the day Saturday, there will be a little over 50 women who will have helped construct this home,” Habitat executive director Todd Miller said as he stood in front of the house on 181 S. Franklin St. “We purchased a blighted home on this property about two years ago. The city was kind enough to tear it down.”
Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle read a proclamation declaring April 30-May 8 National Women Build Week in Delaware.
“This is such a rewarding thing that we can help people get a home,” Riggle said. “I look forward to being at the ribbon-cutting for your home.”
Becky Hughes, who will live in the home with her two children, was also at the work site. She said she’s hoping her family can move into the three-bedroom home with a garage in September.
“I’m thankful every morning to come out and help,” Hughes said. “A friend told me I should buy a Habitat house, but I really didn’t think I would qualify. I applied in late August and they told me Christmas Eve that I got accepted. It’s a huge blessing to me, because I’m divorced and I wanted to buy a house, and I didn’t think I could afford it.”
Construction manager Steve Perkins said he was champing at the bit to started working on the home, and split the women up to do different tasks before it rained.
Miller said Habitat hopes to build at least three homes in the county in 2016. The organization has a focus neighborhood where many of its homes have been built, and some blighted lots have been bought. The focus neighborhood is roughly bounded by Park Avenue, South Sandusky Street, London and Liberty roads.
“We bought two condemned homes in the neighborhood in the last couple of months, on David Street and further on South Franklin. We’ll demolish them for new homes,” Miller said. “We have a commitment to our homeowners that are living here to continue strengthening this neighborhood. When we build in this neighborhood, we’re bringing up property values.”
For more information, visit www.habitatdelawareco.org.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.