As a little girl, Kelly Renaud took tracing paper given to her by her grandmother and spent hours drawing floor plans. Now the Virginia Tech graduate makes a career out of building homes for Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia.
“I fell in love with construction and Habitat,” she said.
Home building continues to be dominated by men but the number of women in the industry is growing. Renaud, a construction and program manager, is one of three women who lead Habitat NOVA’s construction team.
In honor of Mother’s Day and to highlight the homeownership hurdles faced by women, Habitat for Humanity created a weeklong, nationwide event called National Women Build Week. The organization encourages women to spend time this week helping build homes for families. Instead of taking mom to brunch, Habitat would like women and men to celebrate motherhood by picking up a hammer, laying drywall or helping frame a house in their area. They expect several thousand volunteers to work on Habitat homes across the country this week.
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“I really love to work with volunteers on the job site,” Renaud said. “I love getting to know people. I love to teach them a new skill that they didn’t know how to do before, hoping that they will come back.”
Habitat NOVA is building two single-family detached homes in the Groveton Heights neighborhood of Fairfax County. Designed by Sanchez Palmer Architects, the two-story, three-bedroom, three-bathroom homes are being constructed to Earthcraft Gold standards. They are the first Habitat NOVA houses to have solar panels. The homes will be sold at cost of construction to qualified families who earn between 30 percent and 80 percent of the area median income.