In April of 2020, COVID began to make its way into our community and we decided to close the Habitat ReStore in an effort to keep our staff, volunteers, and customers safe. As we moved into the summer we realized that the services our store provided were more essential to our community that we had ever realized. We discovered that our community needed somewhere to donate all of the items in their homes that they didn’t need anymore. Our community needed a place to buy home goods, furniture, and building materials at a low cost as so many in our community were experiencing loss of pay or loss of work. Our community needed us to continue to build and repair homes. So we opened up.
Like most other businesses we invested in plexiglass, disinfectant, face masks, and distancing tape. We began to sanitize all donations as they came into the store, encouraging our staff and customers to wear masks, and we made sure that none of our employees came to work sick. Since that time, we have been able to stay open and available for our community who needs us.
We did everything to make our construction site safe so construction on our homes could continue because, especially in the midst of a pandemic, our homebuyers needed the assurance that they would still have a safe place to call home. We continued to build, encouraging and requiring everyone who works on our homes to wear a mask and to limit the number of people working at one time. Things moved more slowly, but we knew people were able to stay healthy.
We opened up our Home Repair Program again, because those in our community who applied for this program, needed it even more now. Many of them have been stuck in their homes, working to stay healthy, but struggling with the repairs they desperately needed. We put on masks, wash and sanitize our hands regularly, keep our distance, and work efficiently because our community needs us to keep making repairs.
This last year has meant more hand sanitizer than any of us ever thought we would use and a lot of inconveniences, but at Habitat for Humanity we know that a safe, decent, and affordable home makes all the difference in the lives of those in our community.