Cleveland Building Trades Tradeswomen Making a Difference at Haven House

Cleveland Building Trades Tradeswomen volunteering at Haven House an overflow shelter for women and children. Never underestimate the power of women!

FROM THE CBCTC: Members of the Cleveland Building Trades Tradeswomen Committee volunteered their time and skills in April to make upgrades to a homeless overflow shelter.

Established in 2017 as a family overflow shelter to serve homeless women and their children in Cuyahoga County, Haven Home provides temporary emergency shelter until a bed becomes available at a family shelter.

Haven Home is one of the largest emergency homeless shelters in Cuyahoga County. Last year, they served about 588 families. Located in a former convent constructed in 1955, the facility had been looking for ways to reduce its utility bills.

In 2020, Haven Home Executive Director Cindy Rios reached out to Moen and the faucet manufacturer donated 16 metered faucets, to help cut back on water usage.

Rios, who has known Tradeswomen Committee Chair Doreen Cannon for five years, reached out to her to see if Plumbers Local 55 could help them install the donated faucets. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they were unable to help.

Earlier this year, Rios contacted Cannon again, and with the pandemic beginning to subside, the Tradeswomen Committee expressed interest in helping.

The Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council Tradeswomen Committee is a group dedicated to helping diversify the building trades. Made up of female apprentices and journeymen, they meet to provide an uplifting and empowering atmosphere, where members work to bring more women into the trades. The group also performs volunteer activities to help organizations who offer support to women and children in the community.

On two Saturdays in April, seven members of the Tradeswomen Committee installed new faucets, drains and p-traps, as well as repaired walls and replaced tile in the restrooms. Each dorm room also had a sink and similar tasks were performed in the individual rooms.

In order to install the faucets, they had to temporarily remove each sink, where they discovered additional water damage in some cases.

“I am so grateful for their help,” said Rios, adding that the cost savings allows the shelter to use its limited funds on other projects.

The work performed by committee members also helped to reinforce the fact that women are more than qualified to work in the trades.

“It helps our women see other women performing this work,” Rios said. “It shows them there is an opportunity for women to go into a good-paying career, where they can afford to take care of their family.”

While Rios was thankful for the work performed by the Tradeswomen Committee, members of the committee were happy to work together to help improve the shelter.

“It is very humbling and satisfying to help the women and children of our community, and great for the Tradeswomen to get back together again,” said Cannon.

This was the first event for Tradeswomen Committee members since the start of the pandemic. The Tradeswomen, who like to support organizations that offer support to women and children in the community, were eager to work together as a group.

“Before the pandemic, the Tradeswomen Committee was growing in number and we had a chance to get together for a Christmas party/toy drive for Edna House, as well as a social gathering (bowling),” said Cannon. “It was great to see each other again and catch up.

We hope to plan additional get-togethers in the future, where we can support and get to know each other better.”