You are here

First Ladies Hammer Away at Poverty Housing

First Ladies Hammer Away at Poverty Housing
Habitat Completes Inaugural First Ladies Build House

Americus, Ga. - May 5, 1999 - Governors’ wives across the United States are enthusiastic about Habitat for Humanity International’s “First Ladies Build” project, which kicked off recently in Arkansas.

During the week of April 24, First Lady Janet Huckabee and 300 women who answered her call for volunteers built the inaugural home of “First Ladies Build.” Huckabee’s women construction crew swung their hammers to help Tonya and Cevell Plummer’s family build a new home and an opportunity for a better future.

“Habitat for Humanity has made me feel as if somebody finally cares about us,” said Tonya Plummer. “The Titanic has been raised in my life.”

The Little Rock home kicked off “First Ladies Build,” a program of Habitat for Humanity International’s Women Build department. On Sunday, Huckabee handed the Plummers the keys to the first of at least 50 homes to be built over the next 18 months with first ladies. Through “First Ladies Build,” governor’s wives across the country will build Habitat homes in or near their state capitals with women construction crews.

Huckabee’s crew included Oklahoma First Lady Cathy Keating, Kansas First Lady Linda Graves and Habitat for Humanity International Co-founder Linda Fuller.

“Many of these volunteers had never done construction before, but they built this house in a week,” Huckabee said. “We want women to know they can build, and we’re challenging more women to change lives by joining Habitat’s fight against poverty housing.”

While Huckabee built in Arkansas, Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon and her women crew put finishing touches on her First Ladies Build house in Fort Wayne. “This house is only the beginning of what women can do when they come together,” O’Bannon said. “With 18 months of First Ladies Build to go, millions of Americans will see that women can build houses and build lives.”

Huckabee and Keating will join Nebraska First Lady Stephanie Johanns at her build in Omaha on June 3 and will work with Graves near Topeka on June 4.

For information about dates and locations of other builds or for photographs, please contact Michael Crook at Habitat for Humanity International.

First Ladies Build is the premier program of Habitat for Humanity International’s Women Build department. Together, the first ladies, concerned women and people in need are determined to address the issue of substandard housing in their communities. Since 1991, women crews have built more than 200 Habitat for Humanity homes. First Ladies Builds will add at least 50 more homes to this total, while empowering women and expanding the capacity of Habitat for Humanity to make homeownership a reality for families in need.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Habitat brings together people with resources and people in need to build simple, decent, affordable houses. The homes are sold to those in need at no profit, through no-interest loans. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller along with his wife Linda, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 70,000 houses, providing shelter for more than 350,000 people worldwide. With affiliates in every state of the United States and in 62 other countries around the world, Habitat for Humanity expects to build its 100,000th home in September, 2000.