Los Banos Habitat group targets women builders

cpride@losbanos enterprise.comMay 16, 2014 

Habitat Westside members and about 25 women and girls spent six hours on M Street deconstructing the inside of a home and cleaning its back yard.

The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity joined with the national organization and its partnership with Lowe’s to celebrate National Women Build Week the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

The house, one of two projects planned this year, will have a new kitchen, renovated bedroom and a new roof when the work is finished.

This is the third year Habitat Westside has participated in National Women Build Week.

Last year the organization was in South Dos Palos converting a former thrift shop into a residence.

Habitat Westside is renovating its recently purchased home at 537 M St. and plans to start building one next to it on an empty lot at 543 M St.

Ashlee Williams, Habitat Westside’s executive director, said she originally planned for Women Build participants to work on constructing the home at the empty lot, because the other property had not been purchased.

Habitat finalized the purchase of the house before work started on it.

Ed Kosters, a Habitat Westside member who spent years volunteering with a Habitat group in Michigan, said the houses may take nine months to a year to complete, depending on volunteer assistance.

Williams said getting volunteers during the work week has not been easy.

On Saturday, volunteers tore out cabinets, pried apart window and door frames, replaced drywall, repaired a fence and did some pruning.

“It’s something that interest me,” said Amber Rawhoof, 16. “I would rather spend my time doing this than spending money on selfish things.”

Ese Young and her son Jason, 10, put in “sweat equity” hours required by recipients of Habitat for Humanity homes.

Ese Young said her father taught her some construction skills, and she found the physical labor to be fun and good exercise.

Ned Ryan, a former Habitat Westside president, said when the two homes are complete they will be similar in appearance.

Habitat Westside is slated to choose a family this month to occupy one of the M Street houses.

There is no word on when a homeowner will be chosen for the second residence.

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