Women Build

Creating space for women to learn, build, and lead

Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East’s Women Build program provides critical resources to create affordable homeownership opportunities for women and their families. Women Build volunteers learn new skills, build, and teach others—all while working in a supportive and empowering environment.

Why Women Build?  

Many families struggle to find decent, affordable housing and this is especially true for single parents. One third of Oregon’s single working mothers and their children live below the poverty line. There are no neighborhoods in Portland where the average single mother can rent or purchase an affordable home. Women–particularly women of color–face disproportionate access to opportunity, which can affect their ability to find a decent place to live. Housing affordability is a crucial women’s issue.  

A Habitat home provides the stability that a mother and her family need to succeed. Nearly 40% of Habitat homeowners are single mothers. After building and purchasing an affordable home through Habitat, women build strength, stability and self-reliance for themselves and their entire family.  

Through build site experiences and educational programming, Women Build encourages volunteers and financial supporters to challenge stereotypes, fight all forms of inequality, and advocate for themselves and each other.


In Portland in 2018 the average single mother household’s median income is $26,905


Median home sales price citywide rose increased 58% since 2011. 


Nearly 40% of Habitat homeowners are single mothers.


92% of kids in Oregon who grow up in a Habitat home graduate from high school.

An Important Note: Embracing Intersectionality  

When considering women’s issues and equity, a person’s overlapping identities beyond gender must be taken into account. This intersectionality is the framework that supports Habitat’s Women Build program. According to the Women’s Foundation of Oregon, “intersectionality, a term coined by women of color, is the understanding that a person is shaped by multiple overlapping identities, creating a reality that is greater than the sum of those parts. Gender, race, age, location, disability status, income, sexuality, and citizenship are just a few of the many identities that come together to shape our experiences and needs.”

Habitat’s Women Build program actively welcomes and supports all those who self-identify as women including women of color, trans women, and other woman-aligned groups.

Meet the Nguyen Family

Meet Minh Nguyen and her family. Women Build are sponsors of the family’s new home in Cully! A single mom of 5 girls, Minh has had homeownership as her goal for many years now. She has lived in subsidized housing for over 6 years and would like more space for her growing girls. Although this was her first time applying for our homeownership program, she has come in multiple times to the office over the past two years in order to be as prepared as possible to apply for our program. Minh works full time as a housekeeper at the Heathman Hotel. She makes it a priority for her daughters to understand the importance of hard work and education with plans for all 5 going to college.

Learn More

Volunteer with Women Build

Our Women Build program focuses on quarterly build site events where women can come together to learn, build, and lead in a supportive and empowering environment. If you’re interested in volunteering at a quarterly Women Build event, please contact Cassie Punnett, Volunteer and Business Engagement Coordinator, at Due to high demand, these slots may be limited. 

Dates of Quarterly Builds  

  • March 7th, 2020  
  • August 22nd, 2020 
  • November 14th, 2020  

CREW: Connecting Resources to Empower Women 

Be part of the CREW! What’s the CREW, you ask?  The CREW stands for “Connecting Resources to Empower Women” and is a new team that fuels Women Build’s work in Portland. If your personal resources allow you to make Women Build a priority in your charitable giving this year and you would like to help connect others to this work, please consider joining the CREW. 

For more information about joining the CREW, please contact Lauren Johnson, Senior Donor Engagement Officer, at    

News from the CREW

Thank you to our Women Build partners for their generous lunch donations to our hungry volunteers!

 Women Build News