Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County recognizes the critical role women play in their communities and their specific barriers to home ownership. Statistics confirm that female-headed households are more than twice as likely to be cost burdened compared to all U.S. households and single mothers are one of the groups more likely to experience barriers to opportunities in the country.
Even though there have been great strides made toward closing the gender wage gap, women earn on average 84% of what men earn and continue to face a unique set of challenges to accessing safe, healthy, and affordable housing. During the height of COVID, the cultural role of women and the uneven caregiving responsibilities were amplified. Work, schooling, and care for elders took place in the home for many women, and without a place of their own, it was hard! As Lauren Davis, Chief Advancement Officer, shared, “Homes are far more than a shelter.” Habitat for Humanity understands that helping families, especially those headed by women, build or improve places to call home is a critical, tangible way to build a strong and stable community, brick by brick, street by street.
That’s why Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County created The Hammer Society (formerly Women Build) to bring together passionate community leaders to help fellow women build a better future. The Hammer Society was initially composed of a few Habitat staff and board members, but within the first six months, the group had reached 50 members and it continues to grow. Members of this dynamic and inspiring group pool their personal giving to collectively sponsor and build homes for local families, while regularly gathering for networking and volunteering events to connect with like-minded women.
With the quick growth of The Hammer Society, just one year after the group was unveiled, they learned that their efforts would soon help Whitney Butler and her family build a place to call their own.
Whitney Butler, who will purchase the first home sponsored by The Hammer Society, could not be happier or more grateful. Whitney started trying to buy a house for herself, her three daughters and her mother a few years ago, but the overheated real estate market made it impossible for her to compete with other buyers for homes that were affordable and in decent shape.
After meeting certain income, credit, and rental history qualifications, Whitney was selected as a future homeowner and began the process of earning her “sweat equity” hours by helping to build her own home, volunteering in the ReStore, and attending financial education and home ownership/maintenance classes. Upon the closing of her home, Whitney will begin paying an affordable mortgage back to Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County.
Whitney shares, “This is a wish come true. Finally, we will have the space we need! This is the first time we will have more than one bathroom and I’m looking forward to having a yard where my daughter can have a basketball goal.”
“You put a lot of work into the program, but it is so worth it. I really love everything that Habitat is doing in our community.” ~Whitney Butler
The Hammer Society Membership
If you are interested in joining this philanthropic community of passionate, dedicated women, membership is available at the following levels and can be paid in annual, quarterly, or monthly installments.
- Empowerment Level $5000
- Self-Reliance Level $2500
- Stability Level $1000
- Hope Level $500
- Strength Level $250
With the vision of a world where everyone has a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home, Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County’s homeownership program removes barriers to opportunity, success and health that might have been part of a family’s life for years, if not generations.
Across Forsyth County, there is a shortage of affordable housing solutions available to households whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline, or 30% of the area median income. Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing, often leading them to having to sacrifice necessities like nutritious food, healthcare, and reliable transportation.
Through partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County, families can experience the security of owning a home rather than renting; the comfort of knowing one’s neighbors and seeing children play in their yards; the stability of putting down roots in a community; and the long-term investment that helps build personal wealth.
Habitat helps families break down barriers to a brighter future every day.
To learn more about The Hammer Society: Women Who Build or to get involved, visit habitatforsyth.org/womenwhobuild/ or call 336-306-8418.