Women Build program helps families in need with Habitat for Humanity

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Teams of volunteers helped Habitat for Humanity provide safe, affordable homes for families in need as part of the Women Build program.

"It's phenomenal. We started with 40 women at a lunch some five, six years ago. We're at 240 today," said Johnna Struck. "Be it either of time, their talent, their treasure, sponsorship - they're all part of this group."

Struck, Women Build chairperson, says it's a group that's growing -- a group that realizes the incredible need for affordable housing for so many families.

"And to find affordable housing in Oakland County is extremely difficult right now," she said. "A lot of families are choosing between a house payment and a medical bill or a car payment. We're the solution right now - the Women Build team."

Cindy Randall knows first-hand that it can be a life-changing experience. She and her two children were living in a trailer. She was on disability, suffering from Lyme disease. when she applied for a habitat home.

"It was an incredible blessing. I mean, we have more space. The kids can have play dates. We're able to  have family over and celebrate Christmas, birthday parties," she said.

New homeowners put in plenty of work -- financial literacy classes, a down payment, a mortgage and 300 hours of sweat equity, working alongside the women who are either building or renovating these homes. They're women who say they want more women to volunteer for their next project in August.

"If you can pick up a paintbrush, we can teach you how to paint," said Laura Miehls, Habitat volunteer. "We can teach you anything, you just have to be willing and it's loads of fun and it's such a good community of volunteers."

Volunteers whose greatest reward is seeing children smile when they see their new home.

"It moves you to tears -- tears of happiness. It's amazing what they do," said Miehls.

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