Habitat’s Women Build program and Whirlpool Corporation co-sponsored Habitat homeowner survey conducted by Center for Applied Research at the University of Southern Indiana

ATLANTA (March 8, 2012) – A recent survey of Habitat for Humanity homeowners indicates significant increases in areas of homeowners’ self-esteem, well-being, overall family health and neighborhood pride. The survey reflects input from more than 320 Habitat homeowners (more than 85% of them women) in 44 U.S. cities who had bought their homes within the past five years, and measures the impact of homeownership and respondents’ satisfaction with the Habitat partnership experience.

Habitat’s Women Build program and Whirlpool co-sponsored the survey, part of a two-week survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research at the University of Southern Indiana. During an International Women’s Day Women Build symposium on women and housing, hosted by Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program on March 8, researchers presented findings from the survey.

Some key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly 74% of respondents reported that their family state of well-being improved after moving into their Habitat home.
  • More than 98% reported moderate to high self-esteem after moving into their Habitat home.
  • 93% take pride in their neighborhood.
  • 97% felt that Habitat has improved their quality of life.
  • 53% felt that their Habitat home has helped improve their job opportunities.
  • 57% indicated that adults in the home are furthering their education.
  • 74% indicated that their family’s overall health had improved since moving into their home.
  • 90% of women surveyed felt a sense of power being part of a Habitat build.
  • 84% felt safe in their neighborhood since moving into their Habitat home.
  • 56% felt that their children can walk safely to school since moving into their Habitat home.
  • 69% have transportation choices in their neighborhood since moving into their Habitat home.
  • Before homeownership, only 31% of respondents focused on “green” efforts; after homeownership 71% of respondents had that focus.

Beyond the statistics, the survey yielded more qualitative evidence—in the homeowners’ own words—of the positive impact that decent, affordable housing and the Women Build program have on lives and communities:

  • “My son is excelling at school. I think a large part of that is the house. He can have a set bed time. He can have a quiet place to do his homework. We couldn’t do any of those things while staying with someone else.”
  • “I gained a lot of courage and strength and faith in my community. I have the ability to focus on building my own business now that I have a home. I love growing a garden. I am very involved in my community. I am continuing my education.”
  • “I have learned a lot but the basic skills have helped me make minor repairs since moving into my home.”
  • “I have learned to manage my money better. The stress level has gone down. I’m not constantly worrying what is going to break down.”

A cosponsor of the survey, Whirlpool Corporation has been a national partner of Habitat for Humanity for more than 12 years, donating more than 140,000 ranges and Energy Star qualified refrigerators to new Habitat homes built in North America, serving 71,000 families.

Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build recruits, educates and nurtures women to build and advocate for simple, decent and affordable houses in their communities. The first all-women built Habitat house was constructed in 1991, and since Habitat’s Women Build program was formed in 1998, more than 1,900 Habitat for Humanity Women Build homes have been constructed in partnership with Habitat partner families.

Habitat’s International Women’s Day Women Build symposium also featured discussion around international women-led households. Beth Birmingham, associate professor of Leadership and Change at Eastern University in St. Davids, Penn., discussed her research around Habitat for Humanity’s impact in Macedonia, Mexico, Vietnam and Tanzania.

International Women’s Day honors the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women’s success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity International, the Whirlpool Corporation or the Center for Applied Research at the University of Southern Indiana, please click here.