Teaming up to make a Mother’s Day dream come true for a local single mom and her two young sons, sponsors participating in Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program will renovate a home in Cape Coral. Donning pink hard hats and paintbrushes, the women volunteers will spend the first week of May fixing up the home. Their efforts will ensure the home improvements are finished in time for Michelle Wolcott and her sons to spend Mother’s Day in their new home.
Women Build is an annual happening that goes on all across this nation in the week leading up to mother’s day. The purpose is to acknowledge the profound impact that safe, decent, affordable housing has on the lives of women, and to engage women in both the advocacy for and the tangible, physical process of creating that housing.
In Lee County, more than 17,000 families spend more than 40 percent of their income for rent. Many renters are forced to move often, forcing children to change schools and lose academic momentum.
The Women Build program, partially underwritten by national sponsor Lowe’s, brings women from all walks of life together to learn construction skills and then use those skills to be part of the solution to poverty housing. More than 100 individuals and companies contributed to the $50,000 sponsorship fee. Major local sponsors include Edison National Bank, Jeannie Steidel with ReMax Realty, Nuviva Medical Weight Loss and three teams of individuals including Gail Markham, Jennifer Berg, Neale Montgomery, Stephanie Keyes, Kitty Cronin, Sharon Kiesel, Jennifer Keene, Albania Crosbie, Leslie Kinsey, Loretta Goldenberg, Stacey Cannington, Michelle Laboda, Cyndi Deragon Mudgett, Brenda Tate, Mary Moore, Lou Pontius, Tonya Schrott, and Linda Uhler. . Other sponsors include CRS Technology Consultants and Peggy Burt, Florida Land Title Services.
“Thanks to the generosity of Lowe’s and all our Women Build sponsors, Habitat for Humanity of Lee County will rehabilitate one of the many homes on the market,” says Kitty Green, CEO and president of Habitat for Humanity. “Their hard work will help make the dream of homeownership a reality for the Wolcott family.”
As part of the program requirements, Habitat for Humanity homeowners must meet minimum and maximum income guidelines, attend homeowner classes, complete 250 volunteer hours, and make monthly no-interest mortgage payments to Habitat for Humanity.
“After a busy week at work, taking care of the kids and fitting in the homeowners classes, I spend time on the weekends painting other homes as part of my Habitat for Humanity volunteer hours,” says Michelle. “Sometimes when I’m feeling exhausted from it all, I drive by my future house to remind myself that very soon, it will all be worth it!”
Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides simple, decent housing for families who otherwise could not afford it. It is one of the largest affiliates in the country, and it has provided more than 1,150 families in Lee and Hendry counties the opportunity to own their own home. Through the use of volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, homes are sold to the homeowners at no profit with an interest-free mortgage, making homeownership an affordable reality.