WeBuild at Rebuilding Together Philadelphia

June 26, 2024
by Kelly Guajardo, Communications Manager at Rebuilding Together Philadelphia

It’s no secret that women and LGBTQIA+ people are underrepresented in the construction and home repair industry. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research*, women make up only 11 percent of the construction sector, including office and administrative staff. Stereotypes and social stigma create barriers for people who don’t fit traditional gender roles. It can be especially intimidating to pursue careers in construction and all it entails—applying to trade schools, securing apprenticeships, building a client base and more—when you don’t see yourself reflected in the industry.

At Rebuilding Together Philadelphia we want to encourage and uplift all people in construction and home repair, especially individuals who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. That is why we developed the WeBuild initiative – a welcoming space for women, nonbinary people and folks who are LGBTQIA+ to connect, learn skills and build a supportive community network all while making a difference in their communities. Since 2022, we have designated roughly one home per Block Build where all the repairs are managed and completed exclusively by teams of women and LGBTQIA+ volunteers. The volunteers we meet through this initiative regularly express gratitude for the opportunity to learn and share skills in an affirming community-based environment.

Rachel Rosa and Erin Maloney, volunteers who have both given their time and skills as general volunteers over the years, teamed up earlier this month in the roles of Skilled Leader and House Captain for the WeBuild house at our Block Build in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. With a team of both new and returning volunteers, Rachel and Erin led painting and vinyl flooring projects in a neighbor’s home where she has resided for more than 60 years.

“When the opportunity to lead a house of women and LGBTQIA+ individuals on the Block Build presented, it was a no brainer, and I could not say no,” Rachel shared.

“I'm thrilled to have the chance to lead other folks in learning skills, building confidence with tools and repairs and supporting independence in both the volunteers and the homeowners for the long term,” Erin said. “It's a gift to have Rebuilding Together Philadelphia's support to show what we can accomplish together and to do it with inclusive love for my Philly neighbors in West Philly and Strawberry Mansion!”

Many thanks to our volunteers for helping us make safe and healthy homes a reality for all Philadelphians.

Interested in volunteering in your local community? Find your local affiliate here.

* Institute for Women’s Policy Research: Numbers Matter: Clarifying the Data on Women Working in Construction