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Wahine Build, reimagined

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Honolulu Habitat for Humanity is expanding its annual Wahine Build program to engage and mobilize women to aid in building affordable homes on Oahu. The month-long program includes nine build days to participate in constructing a Habitat home and weekly skill building workshops.

Women are disproportionately underrepresented on Habitat build sites.

“Women are disproportionately underrepresented on Habitat build sites,” said Bri Littlefield, Director of Philanthropy. “Often because of lack of training or gender bias. Through Wahine Build, we can educate and inspire women to participate in Habitat’s mission of building homes, community and hope.”

Throughout March, more than 100 women volunteers will help build a home in Waimanalo under the direction of Habitat’s construction professionals, and raise critical funds for Habitat’s future projects.

Wahine Build empowers women to help local families build strength, stability and self-reliance. The program’s hands-on learning opportunities teach women essential skills in construction—a mostly male-dominated sector. Wahine Build’s efforts also shed light on the affordable housing crisis in Hawaii.

The program kicks off on Feb. 25 at the Wahine Build Launch Party at Café Julia, in partnership with YWCA Oahu. Event partners, volunteers, women leaders and Habitat homeowners will enjoy live music, food and signature cocktails hosted by Republic National Distributing Company. Wahine Build also coincides with International Women’s Day and Women in Construction (WIC) Week.  

Background

Affordable housing plays a critical role in building strong and stable communities. In Hawaii, one in five households spend half or more of their income on housing. Due to increased housing costs and growing income inequality, there is a critical shortage of affordable and available homes for extremely low-income renters in Hawaii. Honolulu Habitat for Humanity rallies to support the increase in equal access to opportunity and homeownership for all.

Honolulu Habitat provides affordable homeownership opportunities to low- to moderate-income families on Oahu. Using volunteer labor and donated/discounted materials, Habitat builds homes up to 40% below market rate. Homeowners help build their own homes and pay an affordable mortgage. Since 1988, Honolulu Habitat has constructed 88 homes on Oahu. Over the next 5 years, they intend to build 40 more.

In addition to building new homes, Habitat also provides critical home repairs to existing low-income homeowners, kupuna and veterans. Critical Home Repair helps protect homeowners from future displacement and preserves Oahu’s limited supply of existing homes.  

In partnership with City Mill, Wahine Build offers skill-building workshops every Saturday in March. The workshops will be hosted at various locations on Oahu and are designed to teach basic skills needed to maintain homes and help women contribute to the mission of Habitat. The workshops will cover topics related to home maintenance and improvement.

Through participant fundraising and corporate sponsorship, Wahine Build aims to raise $75,000. This year’s presenting sponsor is Servco Pacific.

“Along with Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, we recognize the important role women play in our families, teams, and organizations as we strive toward building strong and diverse communities throughout our state.”

“We are proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for this year’s Wahine Build in partnership with Honolulu Habitat for Humanity. This partnership aligns with the goals of our Wahine Allyship Group, who are excited to participate in this special event” said Peter Hirano, Executive Vice President at Servco Pacific Inc. “Along with Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, we recognize the important role women play in our families, teams, and organizations as we strive toward building strong and diverse communities throughout our state.”

Other event partners include Hensel Phelps, Nordic PCL, Ward Village, The Swinerton Foundation, Rosendin Electric, USA Mortgage Hawaii, Dowbuilt, Community Impact Advisors, The Cole Academy, Hawaii Nautical, Maryl Group Construction, Austin, Tsutsumi & Associates, Bowers + Kubota, Elite Mechanical, Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union and Hawaii Homes & Estates. Limited sponsorship opportunities are still available.

To learn more, register for a skill workshop or donate, visit wahinebuild.org.

About Wahine Build

Bringing together women from across Oahu, Wahine Build celebrates the vital role women play in building strong, diverse communities. Wahine Build recruits and empowers women of all ages, backgrounds, and industries to come together to build homes and make a tangible impact on our local community. In 2016, Wahine Build started as a single-day event hosted during International Women Build Week. Over the last five years, local interest in women-led construction projects has grown considerably.

About Honolulu Habitat for Humanity

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. Since 1988, more than 450 individuals and families on Oahu have partnered with Honolulu Habitat to obtain a safer place to sleep at night. Honolulu Habitat for Humanity provides a “hand up” to hardworking families in need of decent, affordable housing. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Honolulu Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. For more information visit www.honoluluhabitat.org or find @honoluluhabitat on social media.

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