LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville started building a home for a retired teacher on Thursday. If that’s not inspiring enough, the team is made up of all women.

What You Need To Know

  • Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville has an all-woman team building a house in partnership with the future homeowner

  • It’s the 21st all-women built house in the Louisville community by Habitat

  • The purpose is to celebrate and empower women in the community through homeownership

  • Volunteers are still needed for this home and other Habitat homes in the community 

Katie Perri was one of about a dozen volunteers Friday who were building the second Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville home in the Sheppard Square development in Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood. 

One of the reasons she volunteered is because she loves working with tools. 

“I actually do that for my career anyways. So this is my first time doing a house, and I love to be a part of something awesome,” Perri said.

However, building houses isn’t Perri’s career, and Friday was her first time volunteering with Habitat.

“I think this is a really cool learning experience and kind of just gaining more knowledge of the whole building world,” Perri told Spectrum News.

Helping Perri gain that knowledge Friday were all women, since the house is a 2021 Women Build-sponsored home. A Habitat Women Build event’s purpose is to celebrate and empower women in the community through homeownership. 

Since 1985, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville has built or rehabbed over 550 homes, but the home Perri was volunteering is the 21st home built completely by women. 

Carolyn Miles is also helping to construct the home. Miles, who is also a member of the board of directors for Habitat in Louisville, said she has worked on other houses that were built by women, which said has increased her confidence.

“Because I can come out here, and I know I can install those windows,” Miles said. “If I can install windows then I can do this at my job…Mentally, I think it really helps a lot for women to know to step out of your usual boundary and take a chance because you can do whatever you set your mind to do.

Habitat’s home ownership program provides chosen applicants who make between 30% to 80% of the area’s median income an opportunity to purchase a home.

“They will then put in 400 sweat equity hours. So they will work on their own house and other new homeowner houses, as well, to earn those hours,” Miles explained. “And then they will put a deposit down, and then they’ll have a mortgage…so what’s different is that Habitat acts as the bank, to some respect, so they’re not paying interest. So that brings the price of the house down.”

Miles further explained that owners of Habitat all-women built homes aren’t always women.

“We have built a women’s house that was for a single dad several years ago, I remember doing that,” she said.

However, the future owner of the house Perri, Miles, and other women volunteers are currently working on will be owned by a woman, Deborah Howard.

Howard, a retired pre-school teacher who now is a Foster Granny for 1st graders at JCPS, said it’s a privilege to work with women on her home. Howard was the first person to hammer a nail into what will become her home on Thursday. 

“And I’m very grateful, and I’m thankful to have this opportunity to even work to see it come about,” Howard said.

Perri told Spectrum News 1 she wanted to build with Habitat before and said it’s a plus she ended up on the all-women team.

“Women uplifting other women and showing the world that we can do anything is really cool to be apart of,” Perri said.

Miles said Habitat houses usually take 12-14 weeks to finish. Habitat is always looking for volunteers to help them in Louisville. If you’re interested to volunteer contact Volunteer Programs Manager, Trish Tobbe, at 502-805-2269 or email her at ttobbe@louisvillehabitat.org. 

If you’re looking to partner with Habitat for Humanity to build and own your own home, visit its website.