Design Holidays & Celebrations

Spotlight on Habitat for Humanity Pride Builds This Summer 

Discover how local Habitat for Humanity affiliates are working to make a difference and support the LGBTQ+ members of their community.
Deirdre Mundorf Avatar
A trio of Pride Build Metro Denver volunteers pose behind the framed wall of an in-construction house.
Image Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

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Pride Month takes place in June each year, celebrating and supporting LGBTQ+ members of the community. Habitat for Humanity, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families in need find affordable housing, celebrates Pride Month with a special event called Pride Build. Lauren Marshall, the director of communications for the Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity shared some details about her affiliate’s event last year, where 19 sponsors and 457 volunteers came together to support the community.

Marshall explains that the volunteers worked together to build a duplex, one side of which was purchased by a single mom in the affiliate’s homeownership program. The single mother and her daughter were living “in an unsafe apartment where she had experienced bullets going through their walls,” recounts Marshall. After hearing about the homeownership program from a friend, the mom applied and was accepted.

Marshall describes the hard work that was needed to complete the program, including taking “10 financial and homeownership education classes and attending monthly one-on-one budgeting sessions to ensure she had the tools needed to be a successful homeowner. She also completed 350 hours of “sweat equity,” or volunteer time, helping to build homes (including her own) and working at our ReStore,” says Marshall.

The single mother and her daughter recently closed on their new home. “She told us this helped her fulfill her dream of getting ‘a place where I can call my own for me and my daughter. It has always been one of my dreams, especially as a single mom. I want to show my daughter that anything is possible if you want it and work for it,’” shares Marshall.

What is Pride Build?

A group of Pride Month Metro Denver volunteers carry a completed wall frame across a job site.
Image Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

“At a time when many LGBTQ+ people are under attack legislatively and physically, it is important to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community and remind them that they are important and worthy,” says Sarah Reiter, facilities manager with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. Each June, various Habitat for Humanity affiliates hold Pride Build events where they build homes for LGBTQ+ community members or engage in other activities or fundraisers to support their community.

Terra Lumley, a volunteer with the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity, who participated in last year’s Pride Build, explains that the organization seeks to engage community members when completing new construction projects. “By being inclusive to all, you are inviting more people to participate in Habitat’s mission of providing safe, affordable housing,” says Lumley. “I was excited to be a part of the first Rainbow build at St. Croix Valley Habitat,” she says. Lumley recounts her experiences: “I was able to use my construction skills to teach others and we had a great time. Since I live in rural Wisconsin, getting the opportunity to meet others from the LGBTQA community is meaningful for me,” says Lumley. She adds that one of her favorite parts of building homes for community members is seeing the kids “get excited about their room and [listening as they] tell us their plans for decorating it.”

Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver, Colorado

A pair of volunteers pose for the 2024 Pride Build Metro Denver event.
Image Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

“The Habitat Metro Denver’s Pride Build event brings together members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to build, renovate, and repair homes, as well as support our production and ReStore operations,” shares facilities manager Sarah Reiter. Community members along with Habitat for Humanity corporate staff will be working on several projects during Pride Build this year (which takes place June 6 to 8, 2024), including a new build, home renovations and repairs, and upgrading products to sell at the affiliate’s Denver and Aurora ReStores.

Reiter explains that the donation of time and money from the sponsors of Pride Build help ensure that “Habitat Metro Denver can add to the supply of affordable homes in our community and bring the stability of homeownership to more people.” Moreover, she shares how “Pride Build raises awareness about the importance of LGBTQ+ partnership and allyship in the affordable housing space.” Similarly, Reiter highlights how providing affordable and accessible homes through the event helps lessen the burden on LGTBQ+ community members, who are statistically less likely to be able to afford their own homes.

Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada

”At Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region, we believe that everyone deserves a safe and decent place to live,” says Maggie Raposo, director of community outreach. According to Raposo, the organization is between builds at the moment, so they have something a little different planned for Pride Build this year.

Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region will be holding a Pride Restore Day on June 15, 2024, which Raposo explains will be similar to HGTV’s Flea Market Flip. During the special event, Raposo says that “teams of three will work together to select an unsaleable item from the Habitat ReStore and bring new life to it so that it can be sold in the ReStore and, in turn, bring added revenue to the store that supports our build projects. This is a fun event that highlights the connection between our ReStores and our Habitat mission,” says Raposo.

St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity

A group of volunteers holds a Pride flag during a Habitat for Humanity project.
Image Courtesy of St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity

June 19 to 21, 2024, will be the date for the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity’s second annual Pride Build. “We believe in a world where everyone deserves a safe place to call home,” says Kristie Smith, executive director for the Wisconsin affiliate. “And we recognize that, to create this world, our work must always break down barriers, bring together people of all backgrounds, and generate equity, respect, and lasting change,” says Smith.

As the St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity works to turn this vision into reality through this year’s Pride Build event, Smith shares that anyone who wants to help make a positive impact on the community by building affordable and safe housing is invited, regardless of their sexual orientation. “By joining us on the Pride Build, volunteers are supporting our LGBTQ+ neighbors through their involvement in this event, bringing inclusion and new connections into the volunteer work they spend their time on,” says Smith.

Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity

A woman wearing a hard hat uses a power tool during a Habitat for Humanity Pride Build in Richmond.
Image Courtesy of Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity

Richmond Habitat’s Pride Build program helps raise awareness around discrimination that has barred LGBTQ+ families and individuals from homeownership,” says Lauren Marshall, Director of Communications. Marshall adds that the event “provides a specific opportunity for inclusion where we invite members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to participate in a Habitat home build.”

2024 will mark the Richmond affiliate’s second Pride Build. The build will start in August, with volunteers working through the fall to complete the new construction. “We hope to have even more corporate sponsors raise additional funds for the home build [than last year], helping keep the housing cost affordable for one of the families in our Homeownership program,” says Marshall.