Obviously, the pandemic over the past 7 months has forced a lot of change and hardship on everyone, and most organizations have been working hard to adapt to our current circumstance. Habitat is no exception.
- As you know, Habitat had to suspend volunteer builds beginning in March, because of the difficulties of mask-wearing on a build, an inability to create sufficient physical separation between working team members, and the challenges of hand sanitization on a build amplified by the need to share tools and gear.
- They have continued to make some progress constructing homes using a skeleton crew of sandlot gang members – because they are a small group, well-known to each other, and can be tested regularly and trusted to maintain rigorous anti-COVID measures on a build project. But without the ability to include other volunteers, progress has slowed markedly.
- A couple months ago, they reopened their Restore retail shops, and allow volunteers from the public to help staff them because the work environment allows for more proper protective measures.
- Donations have dropped markedly, putting financial stress on the organization and creating the necessity of staff reductions. Just recently they let their long-time and very talented Building Director, Romana Sanchez, go.
Given the uncertainties of vaccine development or other advances that might alleviate build site risks of COVID transmission, Habitat NOVA has no schedule for when it might reopen builds to public volunteers. At this time, they expect that builds will not reopen for volunteers until (at the earliest) late Spring or Summer 2021. As mentioned above, Restores are open today for volunteers 16 years of age and older, and would be an opportunity for anyone interested. More information is available here: https://www.habitatnova.org/volunteer/individual-volunteer/.
Habitat NOVA is holding a fund raiser called “A Walk Towards Home” – intended as a “virtual walk” to celebrate their 30thanniversary. Download the following flyer for more information. Registration is from October 12 – 31. The walk occurs between November 1 – 30.
Finally, St. Francis has met its financial commitment through a contribution this year, which is greatly appreciated. Habitat NOVA sends their thanks to St. Francis!