150 Osmun St Pontiac, MI 48342 | 248-338-1843
150 Osmun St Pontiac, MI 48342 | 248-338-1843
Since 2014, Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County Women Build volunteers have come together annually to build or rehab a home through volunteerism, fundraising, and teamwork. Homeownership is now a reality for partner families in Madison Heights, Southfield, Oak Park, and Pontiac.
Women Build efforts provide the opportunity for women to take a proactive step in serving their communities.
Women Build opportunities are available throughout the year and any woman who wants to learn how to build and construct a home is invited to participate. No experience is necessary. Volunteers work under the guidance of construction professionals, and also alongside other volunteers and future Habitat homeowners. Whether you are learning new skills or simply adding a few to your tool belt, this is a rewarding experience for all involved, and improves the community that you share.
Women Build is also a terrific way to involve your friends and family of all ages in crucial work with a lasting impact. Women helping women sends a positive and powerful message. You can also come alone, and make new friends. The atmosphere is collaborative and friendly.
Cindy and Dennis Etheridge were living with family when they entered the Habitat program. Cindy, who has a Masters in Social Work suffers from Cerebral Palsy and had never lived in a home she could enter or exit without assistance. Cindy and Dennis were planning their wedding while fulfilling their volunteer “sweat equity” at their new construction home in Madison Heights. Now proud parents of Zakery, the Etheridge’s appreciate their home even more than ever.
Jennifer Rahmann had been volunteering with Habitat through her employer, Home Depot. Living in a one-bedroom apartment with her two children, Jennifer had been sleeping on a couch for over a year. Jennifer’s tasks on the new home in Southfield included installing the kitchen sink and painting. During this time she made the decision to join the Habitat program and began working through her sweat equity. Driving past the home one day Jennifer noticed that no one had yet moved in. A call to Habitat confirmed that the home was available and Jennifer was able to meet all the criteria to close and move her family into the home. Her son, who is disabled and in a wheelchair is now able to move about the home freely and both Jennifer and her daughter now have their own bedrooms!
Cindy Randall and her children were living in a mobile home in Madison Heights. Cindy was driving the kids back and forth to school in the Royal Oak School District and dreaming of having a safe place for them all to call home. An Occupational Therapist by trade, Cindy suffers from Lyme Disease which has caused her to become disabled and unable to work in her chosen field. An optimist, it was Cindy’s mom who encouraged her to “check out that Habitat program.” Oak Park is the perfect location for the Randall family because it is close to their schools and family. Their dog is able to rejoin the family and loves its big backyard!
Kanisha was born and raised in Pontiac and is a hard-working, and devoted eldest sibling to her 7 other siblings. Although she and her family are close knit, one house for herself, 7 siblings, and her mother can get cramped. Kanisha often feels overwhelmed with the environment that can quickly become chaotic with children in the home ranging from 2 years old to young adults, and as the eldest child, she is ready to be the head of her own household –alone at age 22. She is more than ready and deserving to have her own independence and space, which inspires her dream of homeownership. Kanisha’s current living situation is not sustainable and is a temporary solution while she pursues her dream. Kanisha took ownership of her home in Pontiac and is thriving as a result.
Maridel Singleton immigrated to the United States of America from their home province in the Philippines and settled into a two bedroom apartment here. Maridel and Ben-David created a life for themselves and for their two young sons. Maridel works full time at a grocery store and Ben-David found a position as a driver, and together they work hard with their sons’ future in mind. However, with their current living situation there was just not enough space for all four members of the Singleton family to thrive. Due to the rules and regulations imposed upon them by the apartment management and the limited space available they were unable to indulge in even the simplest of pleasures. Maridel cannot start a garden full of flowers or vegetables, their two sons can barely play outside because of the safety concerns, and they weren’t even able to adopt a pet to add to their family. With a Habitat home, they saw the opportunity to live their life on their own terms with the privilege to enjoy little comforts and the knowledge that they will be able to send their sons to good schools. The Singleton family moved into their home in the spring of 2019 and are enjoying the space to grow and the neighborhood with its wild life and warm neighbors.
Tiffany was raised with love and care by both her foster family and maternal grandmother. Although Tiffany knew she was very loved, she always felt a lack of housing stability and security by being bounced back and forth from home to home. Owning a Habitat home is the beginning of her secure and predictable future. As a mother, Tiffany had big dreams and a commitment to education and soon achieved an Associate’s Degree and Medical Assistant Certification from Oakland Community College.
Today, Tiffany is proud of her 9-year career as a clinic coordinator at Henry Ford Health System, which gives her the ability to support her children. The three live in a crowded two-bedroom apartment without room to play and space to study. Going to the shared laundry area in the basement of her apartment building is just one of the many challenges of renting with small children.
Tiffany is looking forward to building relationships with the Women Build volunteers while working alongside them. Once in her own home Tiffany sees herself less stressed and happier. She knows her older daughter is beyond excited and will be filled with constant joy once they are living in their own home. Through sharing her story, Tiffany hopes to empower other women to become home owners as well.
Shanta and her son (11) are excited to move into their first home. After spending the last 11 years in the same small apartment, they are very excited to have a yard, front porch, and a place of their own.
Shanta’s son is looking forward to starting 6th grade in the fall. He enjoys electronics, math, and plays various musical instruments. Shanta comes from a big family and looks forward to having the room for family gatherings and holidays.
Shanta completed her sweat equity hours at the Farmington Hills ReStore, building relationships with Habitat staff and customers and making a difference in her community by furthering Habitat’s mission. With the help of the Women Build Team, dedicated volunteers and many generous sponsors, Shanta’s dream of homeownership has come true. She closed on her Southfield home in July 2021.
Growing up on the east side of Detroit Carla, now 34, was used to a nice family home, a solid neighborhood, and good neighbors. After a few years at Michigan State, Carla found the loans and expenses to be too much and put her education on hold and soon after started a family. Carla and her husband and daughter lived in Las Vegas for four years on a military base.
Eventually on her own, Carla moved back to Detroit six years ago at which time she started working for Delta Airlines as a Flight Attendant and got her first apartment. Carla describes apartment life as very challenging with children, forcing them to be quiet and still in their living space so not to disturb the people below and above causing constant stress for both her and the children. Also stressful is the poor condition of the apartment with walls falling apart, plumbing issues, and overall disrepair. In six years she has not been able to have any guests or entertain at all due to lack of space. Sleepovers for the children and birthday parties have been non-existent in their lives.
Carla is focused on creating a safe place for her children to grow, looks forward to having an affordable and predictable mortgage and is hoping to be a positive example to her children as they see her purchasing her first home. Eventually Carla plans to complete her degree in Pre-Vet Medicine – and improve her roller skating abilities.
Carla envisions feeling amazing and accomplished when she finally gets the keys to a home of her own and is excited to decorate and garden. Carla’s goal is to be financially stable and independent.
As a proud mother of two daughters, Brianna and Brittney, Loria has worked tirelessly to provide a great life for them. Working a variety of jobs since she was a teenager, the Detroit native has been determined to create stability and self-reliance for the next generation.
Each job she had was a stepping stone to something bigger, she was determined to keep moving up in order to create a great life for her and her family. Despite her constant hard work and resilience, she and her family were still affected by the ongoing housing crisis.
Lack of access to affordable housing pushes many families, like Loria’s, into renting overpriced apartments. Not only are these apartments expensive, but they are generally unsafe and hinder families from reaching their full potential.
Despite the costly rent, the building was not kept up to standards and lacked crucial repairs. Loria felt uncomfortable living around unfriendly neighbors she didn’t personally know. She wanted to have a place to make memories with her family and not miss out on important milestones.
Loria was ready to begin a new chapter. By partnering with Habitat, she was able to help build a place of her own for her daughters and future grandchildren to come back to for years to come.
Since closing on her home in April 2023, Loria is enjoying her new life as a homeowner and being able to do things that she couldn’t do when she was renting. Her Habitat home allows her to plant a garden, decorate according to her style, and most importantly make memories with her family.