Partnership increases commitment to highlighting global need for safe and affordable housing while addressing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women
ATLANTA – RealEstateRama – Habitat for Humanity International and Lowe’s kick off their third annual Habitat for Humanity International Women Build Week (March 8-15) by emphasizing the global need for women’s access to safe and affordable housing. This year, the partnership will launch 300 Women Build projects across the United States, Canada and India, an increase despite the need for strict on-site COVID-19 protocols and fewer participants able to volunteer.
Globally, economic turmoil caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already tenuous affordable housing crisis and has impacted women-led households disproportionately. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprised nearly 80% of healthcare workers but also accounted for more than 85% of all job losses in December and nearly 80% of job losses in January. As a result, substantially more women-led households have been forced to choose between rent or mortgage and other essential bills, such as utilities or health care.
In addition, Harvard University’s State of the Nation’s Housing 2020 report indicated that even before the spread of the COVID-19 virus, 37.1 million U.S. households spent more than 30% of their incomes on housing, including 17.6 million households that exhausted more than 50% of their incomes on housing. In response, Habitat and Lowe’s are increasing efforts to help women build or improve access to safe, affordable homes with the launch of over 300 Women Build projects supporting women-led households on International Women’s Day.
In 2020, Lowe’s donation of $1.9 million to Habitat’s International Women Build Week supported more than 230 Women Build projects. This year, Lowe’s has increased its donation to nearly $2.7 million to support more than 300 Women Build projects.
“Lowe’s and Habitat have witnessed the resiliency and transformative impact of women, from serving at the frontline in the fight against the pandemic to showing up on a daily basis as essential workers, and we are committed to helping women and mothers secure safe, affordable housing,” said Janice Dupré, Lowe’s executive vice president, human resources. “In a year full of uncertainty and precautions, we are proud to have broadened the program to support more families than ever and are grateful for our partners for making it possible.”
Through this year’s International Women Build Week, Habitat and Lowe’s also aim to amplify the ways in which housing stability and the impact of COVID-19 on women intersect. In addition to increasing Women Build projects, Habitat is hosting a live virtual conversation about what the pandemic has revealed about the status of women’s economic circumstances, and how safe, decent housing has never been more important in supporting women’s stability and opportunities. The event, +You: Women, housing and the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 11.
“In a year that has been fraught with so many challenges, we are encouraged to see how partners like Lowe’s have risen to the occasion to help women and families around the world find strength, security and stability through shelter,” said Adrienne Goolsby, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada at Habitat for Humanity International. “We’re so proud that our long-standing partnership with Lowe’s is able to continue meeting the needs of the communities we serve around the globe, especially during this time when affordable housing is more crucial than ever.”
Lowe’s and Habitat have been partners since 2003. Since then, the partnership 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. In 2019, the partnership transitioned Women Build Week to align with International Women’s Day, on March 8.
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.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in Southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S., and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE 50 home improvement company serving approximately 20 million customers a week in the United States and Canada. With fiscal year 2020 sales of nearly $90 billion, Lowe’s and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores and employ over 300,000 associates. Based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs focused on creating safe, affordable housing and helping to develop the next generation of skilled trade experts. For more information, visit Lowes.com.