Hollywood's Most Powerful Women Help out with Affordable Housing

Yesterday, more than 100 of Hollywood's most influential women including Jeanne Tripplehorn, Julie Bowen, Diane Farr, Paige Hemmis and Diana Hayden teamed up with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles for "Power Women, Power Tools" -- a one-day build event designed to empower and celebrate women while raising awareness about the need for affordable housing. The annual, invitation-only event, coordinated by Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity, the entertainment industry's partnership with Habitat for Humanity, featured some of Hollywood's most powerful women building two homes in South Los Angeles at one of the build sites for this year's Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP). Additionally, at an afternoon ceremony led by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, 20 Los Angeles families learned that they qualified as Habitat homeowners and will move into their new homes later this year.

"We are thankful that Hollywood supports our efforts to draw attention to the issue of affordable housing, and that these influential women were able to play an important role in changing the lives of several local families," said Erin Rank, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. "We are also thrilled to celebrate today with these local families who will become Habitat partner families this year."

The "Power Women, Power Tools" event took place at a build site located at Vermont Ave. and 112th St. in South Los Angeles, one of the build sites for this year's Jimmy Carter Work Project. The "Power Women" working today helped put up framing for the homes and worked on other projects including roof work. The participants included actresses Jeanne Tripplehorn ("Big Love"), Julie Bowen ("Ed" and "Boston Legal") and Diane Farr ("Numb3rs"), TV personality Paige Hemmis ("Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and author of The Tuff Chix Guide to Easy Home Improvement) and former Miss World Diana Hayden; along with top executives from Adeline Records, Creative Artists Agency, Deuce Three Productions, Endeavor, United Talent Agency, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures, William Morris Agency, and Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman, Cook, Johnson, Lande & Wolf.

"This day meant so much to all of us working on the build site. It's an honor to be a part of something so important to the City of Los Angeles," noted Julie Bowen. "The true highlight of my day was meeting the families who will one day live in these homes. Their stories are inspiring and made me realize how important decent, affordable housing is to the stability of a family."

The "Power Women, Power Tools" event was sponsored by Home Interiors Charitable Foundation, part of Home Interiors & Gifts, a direct seller of home decor accessories. Heather Chastain, senior vice president, operations and sales support at Home Interiors & Gifts, was on-hand to participate in the day's event.

"We are delighted to support the 'Power Women, Power Tools' event and give back to our community and to future Habitat homeowners," noted Chastain. "Our company has established a legacy of giving back, and I'm thankful for our partnership with Habitat for Humanity which allows us to give back in a very tangible, hands-on way."

The day kicked off with a welcome message for participants from Erin Rank. During a lunch sponsored by Women In Film, a Habitat partner family shared stories about what it means to become a Habitat for Humanity homeowner. After the day's work was completed, a special ceremony took place to surprise 20 Los Angeles families with the news that they qualified to become Habitat for Humanity partner families. Their reactions were a mix of shock and joy, from the adults as well as the children. Councilwoman Janice Hahn congratulated each family, who were then presented with certificates to document the special day. Additionally, 10 other families who were previously told they had qualified were on hand to share in the excitement. Some of the families will live on the South Los Angeles build site where the "Power Women" built today and others will live in another JCWP neighborhood in San Pedro. The Habitat for Humanity partner families were chosen from more than 500 applications this year, and were selected on a basis of need, their willingness to invest at least 500 hours of "sweat equity" building their home and their neighbors' homes, and their ability to repay a zero-interest loan. They will be able to move into their new homes later this year.

Habitat could not build homes without its volunteers and today's event was made possible by more than 100 women volunteers who gave up their Saturday to make a difference in the lives of local families. "Power Women, Power Tools" is made possible by the hard work and dedication of its Host Committee, Steering Committee and sponsors.

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