Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties has always called attention to the poverty housing crisis locally, and the organization's Women Build program is being seen as a solution.
Women Build's purpose is to educate and nurture women to teach them to advocate for affordable homes in their community.
Those in the program learn construction skills and learn the value of giving back to the community.
Habitat held a Women Build Community Day on Wednesday, where participants wore their Women Build T-shirts, pink hard hats and tool belts to collect donations and spread the word throughout the community.
Jacque Miloff, who works at Miloff/Aubuchon Realty in Cape Coral, got involved and formed a team to raise money for Habitat for Women Build.
"Cheryl Barnes called for me to be a part of it. We had worked together in the past," Miloff said. "I recruited Shirley Elwood and Nany Ramos when we went to the kickoff party and formed a group."
Several businesses, which played a major part in the fund-raising effort, served as host locations where women could gather and spread the word.
Chico's FAS is the title sponsor for Women Build 2013 and Wells Fargo is another major sponsor.
The fund-raising deadline is April 10, with a goal of $150,000 to rehab three homes for families in need, one (and maybe two) of which will be in Cape Coral. Work will begin on the homes April 27, and the keys will be turned over to the new homeowners at dedication ceremonies on May 11.
"Our team will go to one of the job sites and help remodel one of the homes," Miloff said. "It's really important because there are so many families they need help, so that's what we're in it for."
Ginny Cooper, public relations director at Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, said they have the money to rehab two homes. The ability to do a third will depend on how much money can be raised.
"That second home is in Cape Coral as well, so it may or may not add a responsible homeowner depending on how much money is raised during the Women Build 2013," Cooper said.
Cooper said the first Cape Coral home was donated by Bank of America.
Habitat did two homes in Cape Coral last year, which were also refurbished, Cooper said. After a couple years of doing strictly refurbishing, Habitat will build 15 homes from the ground this year.
"We've had wall raisings every Saturday for the last few months , and four homes in Bonita Springs will be dedicated next week," Cooper said, adding that Cape Coral will continue to be a rehab city for Habitat.
Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and is one of the largest Habitat affiliates in the country, with more than 1,200 families becoming homeowners.
"We need everyone's support to make not only Women Build, but Habitat for Humanity as well," Cooper said. "The need is still great for affordable homes for residents."
For more information call (239) 652-0434 or visit www.habitat4humanity.org