Giving Alliance of Women volunteers.JPGWhile mothers across the country are hoping to receive flowers, cards or gifts on Sunday for Mother’s Day, a very special group of women will receive keys to a new Habitat home in Cape Coral. These moms are the recipients of a home built or rehabbed through Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Inc. (“Habitat”) Women Build project. Women Build encourages women to make a difference by building or rehabbing homes and helping Habitat with its home-building mission.

Habitat Women Build is a perfect fit for Giving Alliance of Women (“GAW”), a non profit organization serving Cape Coral, Florida since 1973. GAW is a component of the Cape Coral Community Foundation, consisting of a group of women involved with philanthropy in the Cape Coral community. These women, pictured above, formed a team and raised $5,000 to participate in Habitat’s 2012 Women Build.  (Front row, left to right: Tyra Read, Jennifer Coleman, Claire Avery, ToniRae Hurley, Rebecca Ross; back row: Tiffany Cleland, Mary Margaret Embroli-Swanson, Cindy Stratton.)

In addition, GAW participated in painting one of the Cape Coral homes on April 30, 2012.  ToniRae Hurley, Vice President with iBERIABANK, chairwoman of GAW and board member of Cape Coral Community Foundation, participated in rehabbing of one of the Cape Coral homes. ToniRae stated

Habitat Women Build is a great opportunity for GAW to make a difference in the life of a Cape Coral family. It is women helping women, and mothers helping mothers.”

I am a member of GAW and a long time resident of Cape Coral, Florida. I am very proud of the involvement of GAW members with Habitat Women Build. It is rewarding to know we helped refurbish a home in Cape Coral so a woman in need can have a decent, affordable home for her and her family.

Habitat’s involvement is also helping our local real estate market recover by strategically buying and refurbishing existing homes. Last year, Habitat put 16 families into homes in the Cape, and so far in 2012, six families have already moved into their Cape homes. Kitty Green, President and CEO of Habitat, is very happy to have private sector support from Cape Coral. Not only has Habitat Women Build helped families move into Cape Coral, Habitat has been instrumental in reducing the inventory of existing homes in Lee and Hendry Counties. Inventory must decrease for our construction industry to recover. Kitty shared “in 2011, Habitat placed 70 families in existing homes that were refurbished, where five years ago, all the homes were new construction. This year, Habitat will place 61 families in homes, of which 55 homes will be existing and refurbished, and only 6 will be new construction.”

The recipients of Women Build homes must meet normal program requirements. Recipients must demonstrate a need, the ability to pay a mortgage, and the willingness to partner with Habitat. Once accepted into the program, they must put in 250 hours of volunteer labor; attend a series of homeownership classes and save $1,200 in closing costs.

Each home requires a $50,000 sponsorship fee and enough willing hands to spruce it up. That equates to $150,000 and a whole lot of hands! We are grateful to Habitat for the impact they are making in the lives of the families they are helping in our Southwest Florida community.