COVID-19 Weekly Update: March 26th

When health and safety has called to stop all construction, keep our volunteers home, and close our ReStore, how we react and what we do at this time says a great deal about our character and understanding about our purpose. 
As partners of Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, we value action. We build. We donate. We lend. Sitting put is not in our DNA. But, we are a patient bunch. We know that housing, like life, is a long game played over decades. We build homes that last. And today, having a safe home has never been more important. 
Lancaster Lebanon Habitat has served 300 families through various programs and built just shy of 200 homes. Half of our families have satisfied their mortgage debt and have more wealth to manage tough times than they once did. 
Today, we have nearly 100 homeowners still repaying their affordable mortgages on their Habitat homes. But they are part of the population most at risk during this health crisis and economic transition. Many Habitat families work in the service sector or for non-essential businesses, where job loss is most acute. They are the least likely to be able to work remotely from home. With loss of work, making their mortgage payments may become near impossible, as will securing other basic life essentials 
To protect our Habitat families from this threat to homeownership, Lancaster Lebanon Habitat is providing forbearance, waiving late fees, and exploring other forms of relief. We will sacrifice principal payment and advance taxes and insurance. All of this will come at a considerable cost to us upfront, but we are determined to keep our Habitat families in their home. 
Looking forward, I will continue to communicate with you weekly about our work to share our specialized knowledge and perspective, and to inform you about how we are stewarding our collective resources so we ensure we are ready to spring back into action. 
Many of you have asked what you can do right now to help. At this moment, when we cannot come together with our collective spirit of building change, please say a prayer for our homeowners, our Habitat family and those struggling around us. 
Second, as hard as this may be right now, I would be doing a disservice to our organization and the people we serve if I did not ask you to consider a gift to Habitat. I understand that in these uncertain times, a gift might not be possible. If you are in the position of extending support to our organization, your contribution will help us immensely in our work to protect homeownership in our community.
Thank you for all of your generosity and hours volunteering at Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity. You make us what we are and we are proud to serve our families with you.  We will weather this storm together.  

Andrew Szalay 
Executive Director
Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity