International Women Build Week: Celebrating and Investing in the local community

This time last year, dozens of volunteers and supporters of Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast were set to start construction on a home in Gautier as part of International Women Build Weeks.

Those plans were temporarily put on hold due to COVID, but the project, and some local family’s soon-to-be home, is complete.

“A house is made of walls and beams. A home is made of hopes and dreams.” Cheryl Cooper with Navigation Credit Union was among those to etch words of encouragement to the future homeowners of this Gautier Habitat home on Dolphin Drive back in September.  The writing wasn’t on the wall months earlier, when work was initially set to begin during March of last year. Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Gulf Coast Director of Resource Development Lindsay Avery said, “In our traditional Women Build sense, the participants raise the funds and get to come out and swing hammers and help build the home. Unfortunately, the build was supposed to start about the same time COVID hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast so we postponed the build for some time. We were not able to accommodate volunteers, but 131 people raised $112,000.00 towards this home so construction moved forward.”

“This year what we had to do was help them get the funds they needed to build the home and support the effort. We really got the thrill of doing what we wanted to do, which is raise enough money to build this house.”

It doesn’t stop here. The focus for Women Build 2021 is to help South Mississippians return to safe, sanitary homes, especially after Hurricane Zeta. “We have also had an increased focus on foreclosure prevention and have helped several families throughout the year save their homes through the resources that are available to them.”

And it won’t be long before they roll out the welcome mat here. “We have some families working with our financial counselors and are getting to the point of being able to afford and maintain a mortgage, so next, a family will get to move in here.”

An all-around investment. “Our interest in providing financial literacy education and helping people build credit scores, helping be able to afford homes – all of those are missions that we share. We are thrilled we are able as a Credit Union to sponsor Habitat for Humanity in our community. We would certainly encourage every individual and every business to find a way to do it because it certainly pays dividends really that we could never quantify.”

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