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Women come together in response to the affordable housing crisis in the Black Hills

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Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity

Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity works on a project in 2019.

Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity’s annual Women Build celebration returns in 2022 with a three-day, women-only volunteer opportunity, supporting Habitat’s mission of helping local families build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable housing.

Women Build will be taking place Thursday through Saturday at 130 E. Van Buren St., the future home of future Habitat homeowner, Penny.

According to a news release, this year Habitat hopes women across the community will consider making a donation to the organization throughout the month of May in tribute to the mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors in their lives.

"Together, we can help women throughout the Black Hills work towards home ownership, creating financial stability for their families," the news release states.

According to a news release, Women Build has been a Habitat tradition for more than 20 years, but this year’s build is a true celebration of the resilience of women in our community.

"Numerous studies have shown that the pandemic has disproportionately affected women in the workforce, threatening their housing security," the news release states. "Currently we have eight partner families working their way through the Habitat program, all independent women. This year we build in honor of their strength and commitment to their future and families."

State Rep. Jess Olsen will be named honorary chairwoman, in recognition that Habitat's work would not be possible without advocates and supporters. Olson is serving in her second term as a South Dakota legislator.

"As a fourth-generation South Dakotan, Olson is a successful business leader and brings a unique real-world perspective to her role as an elected official," the news release states. "She has led efforts to improve work-force development, support stronger families through foster and adoption funding, and most recently she has been an advocate and voice of reason in Pierre to address affordable housing concerns, particularly with the passing of HB 1033."

HB 1033 provided $150 million in loans and grants to the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund and $50 million to the South Dakota Housing Development Authority.

For more information, visit www.blackhillshabitat.org or call 605-348-9196. Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity is a United Way member agency.

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