Dec 17, 2023

Women volunteers help build a home in west Charlotte

Ahead of Mother's Day this weekend, a group of women with Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region came together to start construction on a home for a mother in west Charlotte. The volunteers continue a Habitat tradition that started over 30 years ago.

At the housing development site on Morris Field Drive, a group of women volunteers are turning the aspiration of homeownership into a reality for a single mother. At the site, the crew adjusted their helmets, picked up hammers, and began hammering nails into the wooden wall panel to frame the home.

Katie Ousseini is the recipient of the home that's being framed today. She currently lives in west Charlotte with her three children and says finding an affordable home in the city can be challenging.

"I was living in an apartment, the same apartment, for about 15 years, and when I saw the Habitat program, I was like, wait, this is the best opportunity to get into a house," Ousseini said.

The "Women Build" movement by Habitat started 32 years ago. Janet Stewart, the program's first recipient, was on the construction site. She said her home brought much-needed stability to her family.

"The security of knowing where you’re going to go at the end of the day if something happened, your kids knew where they were going to sleep; it makes a big difference," Stewart said.

Stewart moved into the home built by Habitat in Optimist Park with her two daughters over 30 years ago. She still lives there today.

"(I) remember the day my foundation was laid, when the walls started going up, swinging hammers, putting up dry walls, it's so vivid," Stewart said. "And to know somebody else is going to get that blessing also, it feels great."

According to Habitat's website, nearly 2,700 homes have been constructed by women crews in the U.S. and 30 foreign countries combined. Sharon Sullivan is one of about a dozen volunteers on the site. She said the "Women Build" program shows the diverse skill set of women.

"We’re here framing walls, windows and doors, and I’m really excited to be a part of that," Sullivan said.

In about six months, the home for the Ousseini family at the Meadows at Plato Price is expected to be completed and move-in ready.