Habitat for Humanity and Lowe’s Canada team up for 2021 International Women Build Week

Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area has partnered with Lowe’s Canada to kick off International Women Build Week, a Habitat for Humanity international annual initiative powered by Lowe’s Companies. From March 8 to 15, the event starting on International Women’s Day is intended to draw attention to the global need for women’s access to safe and affordable housing. This year, the organizations in the United States, Canada and India are increasing efforts by supporting over 300 Women Build projects and women-led households, which will help women around the globe to build or improve decent, affordable places to call home.

“(As) we recognize International Women’s Day, we salute in particular single mothers,” says Ene Underwood, CEO, Habitat for Humanity GTA. “The reality is women-led households are disproportionately represented in families in need of safe and affordable housing in our communities. Single mothers are up against more, and being a visible minority, an immigrant or Indigenous, along with being a woman, can add to the challenge of being able to provide for one’s family in the GTA which is now the fifth least affordable city in the world.”

Ongoing partnership

For 2021, Lowe’s Canada expanded its partnership to support four additional local Habitats in Canada, as the need for affordable housing sharpens in many parts of the country due to economic strains brought by the pandemic. Worldwide, Lowe’s Companies has increased its donation to nearly $2.7 million to widen its support for Habitat’s international projects that help women and their families.

“Supporting the communities that welcome our stores, our associates, and our customers is part of our fundamentals at Lowe’s Canada,” says Jean-Sebastien Lamoureux, senior vice-president, public affairs, asset protection and sustainable development at Lowe’s Canada. “As many things we assumed were stable became fragile in the last year, we are pleased to see that our ongoing partnership with Habitat has helped provide women-led families in our communities with a foundation on which to build a sturdy home.”

Women experience multiple pressures as they struggle to find or retain safe shelter during the pandemic, according to a report by the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network (WNHHN) and research from the Community University Policy Alliance on Women’s Complex Homelessness at McMaster University. Women are disproportionately impacted by a loss of income due to COVID-19, which puts women-led households at a greater risk of losing their housing. As a result, many more of them are forced to choose between either rent or mortgage, or other essential bills, such as utilities or health care.

Positive effects

Through this year’s International Women Build Week, Habitat GTA and Lowe’s Canada also wish to amplify the positive effects of housing stability for women and their families, especially during the pandemic. “Being able to achieve the milestone of homeownership has been a dream come true,” says Elena, a single-mother, Habitat homeowner in the GTA. “I was so proud to tell my own mother about this accomplishment, and I’m now on a path to building a brighter future for myself and my daughter.”

Lowe’s Canada and its Lowe’s, RONA and Reno-Depot banners have been partnering with local Habitat affiliates since 2009. Through the Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign, International Women Build Week, and focused donations in cash or in kind, Lowe’s Canada has raised more than $3.9 million to support the non-profit organization’s housing efforts across the country and help Habitat homeowners improve their living conditions.

For more information, visit habitat.ca

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