Over 1500 women unite to end poverty housing in Toronto.

    Habitat for Humanity Toronto will host thousands of women builders from
    across Toronto to kick start Canada's largest Women Build to date.

    TORONTO, April 24 /CNW/ - On May 1 Canada's largest Habitat for Humanity
Women Build event will commence where over 1,500 women will gather over nine
days at a Scarborough build site to build homes and hope for families in need.
    The Women Build Blitz will run until Saturday May 9th, 2009 on Mother's
Day weekend and is taking place at Habitat for Humanity Toronto's Hainford
build site near Lawrence Avenue East and Morningside Road.
    The objective of the Women Build initiative is to break the cycle of
poverty for 16 Toronto families, and generate thousands of new donors and
volunteers to increase our ongoing build capacity. Over 30% of Habitat partner
families are headed by single mothers and one in seven Canadian women are
presently living below the poverty line. The Habitat for Humanity Women Build
will have the hands and hearts of thousands of mothers, daughters, sisters and
friends to ensure the success of this inaugural build. Together, the women of
Toronto will unite to help break the poverty cycle and put these families in
the safe, decent and affordable homes they deserve.
    "A Women Build includes all the benefits of a regular Habitat for
Humanity Toronto build," says Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity
Toronto, "but adds a twist by focusing on the encouragement of women to get
involved in what had traditionally been considered a male dominated
profession." This is the first time Habitat for Humanity Toronto has held a
Women Build initiative and the organization has been amazed at the support and
enthusiasm from women across the city.

    Women Build Achievements: But they are still short of their fundraising
    goal of $2 million!

    The Women Build volunteer fundraisers and corporate partners have
achieved amazing success with their fundraising efforts totaling over     
$1.8 million for this initiative.
    Partners such as The Women of the Toronto Police Services and The Members
of Verity have gone to great lengths to surpass their own goals in record
time. The Women of the TPS have so far raised over $200,000 adding another
home sponsorship to their original goal of raising $100,000 for a home on our
Women Build site. This group of extraordinary women have truly showcased that
their work does not end by just keeping the city of Toronto's streets safe.
The Members of Verity surpassed their fundraising goal of $100,000 in just 12
weeks! Currently, their fundraising is at $150,000 and climbing.
    Some partnerships began on old foundations such as Scotiabank Shared
Services & Friends and Great West Life Realty Advisors, who have been proud
supporters of Habitat for Humanity for years. Scotiabank Shared Services has
raised over $82,000 from their tournament towards sponsoring a Women Build
home in 2009 while GWLRA donated $200,000 to sponsor two Women Build Homes.
    Other partnerships are just beginning like ones with CGI, Foresters(TM),
Delta Chelsea and Kia Canada who collectively donated $300K and are sending
over 150 women from their Corporate Head Offices to participate in this unique
    Even though Habitat Toronto is thrilled with the achievements of their
Women Build partners, they still have a little further to go as they are still
$200,000 short of our Women Build goal of $2 million.

    Family Story: Women Build Partner Family Home recipients

    For Sonia Jaimes and Luis Orellano Castillo, the concept of family is one
that holds special meaning for them. In their current home, the family's
living conditions are cramped and unfavorable. Sonia, Luis, and their son
Daniel all share one room and Sonia's mother sleeps in a small space off of
the kitchen. The Castillo-James family will help build their new Habitat home
with hundreds of fellow build volunteers during the Women Build Blitz on the
Hainford build site.
    For this family with a zest and passion for life, moving into their new
Habitat house will mean leaving the confines of their small one bedroom
apartment and being granted the opportunity to enjoy life to its fullest. In
Luis's words, when asked what the term "home" meant to him, he replied simply,

    About Habitat for Humanity Toronto:

    Established in 1988, Habitat for Humanity Toronto is a non-profit,
non-denominational Christian housing organization. We welcome all people
without discrimination to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable homes
in partnership with low-income families. One hundred percent of all
administrative and fundraising costs are paid for by the operation of three
ReStores. Habitat ReStores sell quality new and gently used donated building
materials. Every 10 minutes, Habitat for Humanity helps a family improve their
housing situation in more than 100 countries around the world.
    The Habitat for Humanity Toronto Women Build project is a part of a
one-time 60-home development of affordable and market value homes created by
WRP Neighbourhood Housing. For more information on WRP please visit

    For more information about Women Build, please visit
    For more information about Habitat for Humanity Toronto, please visit

    Foresters(TM) is a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, a
    fraternal benefit society, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9.

For further information:

For further information: To attend or schedule an interview, please
contact: Neil Hetherington, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Toronto, (416) 755-7353
ext 223, Cell: (416) 436-4190, neil@torontohabitat.on.ca; Joanna Matthews,
Communications and Events Coordinator, Habitat for Humanity Toronto, (416)
755-7353 ext 228, Cell: (416) 277-3064, jmatthews@torontohabitat.on.ca

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