How Habitat is addressing the housing crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic
As COVID-19 continue to shape the landscape and operations of our communities, we recognize that housing is at a critical state.
Shelter is a basic human need, a truth that has become abundantly clear as people across the globe are urged to find safety at home. When your home is unaffordable or unsafe, sheltering in place is hard, if not impossible. There are simply not enough decent housing options within our communities.
In response, Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity has established our Home Resiliency Fund to address the devastating impacts that COVID-19 will have on housing within our community. Our focus is on homeowners and the need to be ready for a variety of situations that affect home affordability, including:
- Expanding Homeownership. Habitat is committed to fulfilling its core purpose of creating affordable homes for first-time homebuyers. Through next winter, Habitat will complete six home projects and embark on the first steps of a large-scale build on Lancaster’s Juniata Street in 2022.
- Emergency COVID-19 Funding and Home Preservation. The economic shutdown has challenged the organization financially, but it has also highlighted our most basic responsibilities. Habitat will protect its directly impacted homeowners and homebuyers through a grace fund: advancing taxes and insurance to keep current homeowners in their home and grants for future Habitat homebuyers from two-to-three months of rent with any unspent funds applied to their future home.
- Health and Safety. Our model of building homes and community through volunteerism will be challenged over the next year. Habitat will advance this challenge through increased staff and volunteer training, particularly around the topic of health and safety. Heightened training will be needed for the construction site and ReStore, as well as all volunteers in general.
The budget for our Home Resiliency efforts is $930,000. We seek support from the corporate, foundation and church communities, as well as through our faithful and generous individual supporters. When Habitat recovers expenses from this period (such as ReStore rent and deferred payables), we will acquire new sites and re-open our application process for new homebuyers.
This financial support, together with volunteer service, ReStore sales and a first-time homebuyers program that offers tools for success, will continue to make a lasting impact on the lives of local families, as well as our entire community.