On Tuesday Oct. 6, and Thursday, Oct. 8, alert travelers along Hinesburg Road in South Burlington may have noted some construction at the home labeled 57.

This flurry of building represented partial completion of a 4-plex at this address as part of Women Build Week 2020.

According to Habitat for Humanity’s website, Women Build Week began unofficially in 1991. Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity’s Allison DeVoe, the organization’s volunteer and community outreach manager says anyone who identifies as a woman, including trans women and gender non-conforming persons, who “want to learn how to learn how to build a house” can be involved. She adds that Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity has participated in Women Build Week for more than a decade.

In addition to the 4-plex on Hinesburg Road, Women Build Week workers also constructed a home in Burlington.

This year, the work days ran from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., with 10 builders participating each day, often in teams from local businesses or organizations like the University of Vermont Medical though individual people can help as well.

Dawn LeBaron, vice president of hospital services at the University of Vermont Medical Center, said housing is healthcare. In the wake of Gov. Phil Scott issuing his “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, LeBaron’s connection between housing and health struck a new chord with many Vermonters as many of us were told to work from home or limit our outings to slow the spread of the virus. The state even temporarily housed individuals without homes during this time. It is well-known that housing-insecure people experience barriers to medical care. Therefore, it makes sense that having a room of one’s own is the first step to a healthy lifestyle.

But families helped by Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity don’t get their homes for free. Each adult in each family must contribute something called sweat equity toward their new homes.

Basically, sweat equity represents the amount of hours adult family members must to contribute toward the building of their new place. Habitat for Humanity is inclusive of all applicants and potential builders, and works hard to include people with disabilities in their process.

To help out with Women Build Week 2021, contact Allison DeVoe at 318-7533 or adevoe@vermonthabitat.org

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