Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley marks 20 years of Women Build projects with Ypsi Township build

Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Women Build program by completing projects benefiting two women living in Ypsilanti Township.

Women Build committee members, local supporters, and volunteers turned out for the kickoff of the project March 8 at one of the two homes: 523 Nash in the West Willow Neighborhood of Ypsilanti Township. The other home is in Ypsi Township's Appleridge neighborhood. From now through the end of May, about 15 teams of women will raise $65,000 toward renovation costs and donate their labor on the two homes. Renovations on both homes started late in 2021 and are expected to be completed in mid-June.

In the last 20 years, more than 2,000 women volunteered or donated toward Women Build projects, says Leah Tessman, who oversees development of corporate and faith relations for Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley.

"Since the beginning, Women Build has provided home ownership for about 15 women and their families, as well as provided support and home improvement projects for a handful more," she says. "It's an incredible experience, breaking the stereotypical role for women and challenging women to get out of their comfort zone, learn new skills in home building, and empower other women and their families."

One of the two women who will purchase a completed Habitat house has not agreed to have her information released, but the other is Regina Young. She's a mother of two grown children who wants to provide a safe and stable home for herself and one of her two children, who lives with her, Tessman says.

Women Build is an initiative of Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley and is supported
by the James A. and Faith Knight Foundation and PNC Bank. A number of other local businesses donate money and send teams of women to complete the builds.

West Willow has been a partner neighborhood with Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley since 2012. Since then, Habitat has renovated and sold 10 homes and five more are in process. In cooperation with the New West Willow Neighborhood Association, it has also hosted home improvement projects benefiting more than 300 neighborhood residents.

To learn more about the Women Build initiative or to sign up a team, visit www.h4h.org/women-build.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley.
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