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Empowering Women for Affordable Housing

A Q&A with Sheila Nale, PE  

Sheila Nale, this year's Habitat for Humanity, D.C. & Northern Virginia (Habitat DC-NOVA) “Women Build” Chair, is set to lead the Host Committee in their ambitious goal to raise $250,000 to build three new Habitat homes this spring. With a wealth of industry expertise and leadership, Sheila is committed to engaging women and volunteers of all genders in the essential work of affordable housing.  

We caught up with Sheila to discuss what this opportunity means for her and the impact it could have on affordable housing throughout the District and beyond. 

Q: Tell us about the Women Build program. What is its mission? 

Habitat DC-NOVA Women Build aims to engage, mobilize, and empower women and people of diverse gender identities in the critical work of affordable housing. The program creates an inclusive, collaborative environment where women can learn new skills and tangibly serve their neighbors and communities.

The campaign provides opportunities for women volunteers to participate in construction activities alongside their friends, peers, and colleagues on a site that is welcoming and comfortable. 

Women Build has evolved to be gender-inclusive, providing opportunities for volunteers of all gender identities to participate in affordable housing work, learn new skills, and give back to their community. 

Q: How did you become involved in this program? 

The Women Build Host Committee comprises corporate and community leaders dedicated to empowering women and building stronger communities through volunteerism and affordable homeownership. Committee members serve as ambassadors, leveraging their personal and professional networks to secure meaningful relationships and financial contributions for Habitat DC-NOVA’s mission.  

I got involved in 2023 because of my passion for empowering women and creating positive change in our community. 


Q: What is your role as Chair? 

As Chair, my role is to lead the Host Committee in their efforts to raise funds and organize volunteers. I enthusiastically embrace the mission of Women Build and affordable housing, actively engaging others within my network for support, and facilitating introductions to individuals, corporations, and the community.  


Q: How will this year’s campaign contribute to much-needed affordable housing throughout the region? 

Women Build 2024 aims to raise $250,000 to construct three homes in DC and Northern Virginia. The campaign includes group Build Days from March to May, welcoming women volunteers on construction sites, a communications and advocacy effort highlighting the housing challenges women face, and a celebratory luncheon in May 2024 featuring a panel of women industry leaders.  


This comprehensive approach ensures that Women Build not only raises funds but also creates awareness and fosters community engagement in addressing the critical issue of affordable housing. 


"I am honored to be this year’s chair and contribute to such a meaningful mission. Strong women build each other up, and that is what we are setting forth to do with the 2024 campaign!"

-- Sheila Nale, Associate

For information on how to participate in Women Build 2024, click here.


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