April 1, 2020

Recent developments surrounding COVID-19 require everyone to take precautionary measures to ensure public safety. Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, in accord with CDC recommendations, has continued serving low-income families in need of a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. That being said, here are a few important mission-focused updates:

  • Recent Home Closings: On Friday, March 27th, three Habitat for Humanity homebuyers signed the closing documents to purchase their new homes with affordable mortgages. Congratulations, Marie, Nancy, and Dermika on achieving the American Dream of homeownership! This Friday, April 3rd, U.S. Veteran and Habitat Warehouse staff member, Mark and his wife Teresa, will close on their new Habitat home. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to see a video of Mark and Teresa after signing their closing documents!
  • Mortgages: Habitat for Humanity families are strong and resilient. However, we understand that many households are experiencing the economic hardships associated with COVID-19, including Habitat homeowners. As an organization, we are committed to working with each family individually and providing financial relief options for those adversely impacted by COVID-19. If you are a Habitat homeowner in need of assistance, please call 1-800-943-1988 to review available financial relief options.
  • Media Appearances: In this unprecedented moment, it’s crucial the public understands that Habitat for Humanity is prepared to assist them with their housing needs. By working with the local media, we’ve promoted our online homeownership information meetings and financial counseling services. Watch our ABC7 appearance here.
March 20, 2020 

Dear friends of Habitat,

Our team has been closely monitoring the escalations surrounding Coronavirus / COVID-19, and we believe now is the time for us to do even more to protect you, our team, Habitat homeowners, future homeowners, and the community for whom we deeply care. I’m writing today to share how we are increasing our efforts to combat the effects of this global health pandemic in the weeks ahead.

This is an increasingly difficult time for people, businesses, and organizations across the country and our community. As a nonprofit that relies entirely on the support of others, please know we are making these difficult decisions prayerfully—but we need your help. Here are the protective measures we are enacting today:

Administrative Offices

  • Here’s what we’re doing.
    • Our administrative office will be closed to the public effective 5:00 on Friday, March 20.
    • Our staff will be available with some actively working remotely, replying to phone calls, voicemails, and emails during this time. Any scheduled meetings are being evaluated and will be held remotely.
    • Habitat Leadership is working to find innovative and productive ways to care for our staff in light of these closures.  Though construction sites will be limited, there will be space to safely accommodate construction and non-construction staff in our home building efforts.  Therefore, as long as there is construction work to do, Habitat staff members can continue paid employment on a construction site.
    • We have implemented a change to our Paid Time Off policy to help our staff weather these difficult times.
  • Here’s how you can help us.
    • We urgently need your financial support. As businesses throughout our community are impacted by closures, so are many Habitat homeowners who make their family’s living in the service industry. These families will certainly be concerned about continuing to make their mortgage payments. We are committed to working with each family during this uncertain time, but we need your financial support to sustain us in that. Please consider any financial support possible and click here to give a gift online or see other ways to give. When you give, you’ll help us do more to help them.
    • For reopening information and other Habitat updates, click here to follow us on Facebook.

Habitat ReStores

  • Here’s what we’re doing.
    • Our ReStores will be closed to public effective Saturday, March 21 at 5:00pm until further notice.
    • Donation drop-offs and donation pickups are suspended. Donors are being contacted about currently scheduled pickups beyond March 21.
    •  Please know, we rely on your donated items, so please keep reading to see how you can help.
  • Here’s how you can help us.
    • ReStore is a key part of how we build homes with local families and this downtime will certainly be a hit to that effort. We will urgently need your donated items when we return. If you’re planning a donation drop-off, please hang on to your items and drop them off when we open again.
    • For ReStore reopening information and other Habitat updates, click here to follow us on Facebook

Habitat Volunteers

  • Here’s what we’re doing.
    • Construction sites, office administration and construction warehouse operations will be closed to all volunteers and future homeowners until further notice.
    • ReStore volunteer activities will be closed to all volunteers and future homeowners until further notice.
    • We are contacting all currently scheduled volunteers to cancel their assignments.
  • Here’s how you can help us.
    • Take steps to stay healthy—we have a busy build season ahead of us and we’ll need your help to build homes!
    • For reopening information and other Habitat ReStore updates, click here to follow us on Facebook.

Habitat Future Homeowners and Homeowners

  • Here’s what we’re doing.
  • We will warmly continue to accept applications but will request conversations happen over the phone with members of the Family Services Team versus in person. For information on how to submit applications during this time, call 239.652.4663.
  • Upcoming Habitat Homebuyer Information Meetings will be conducted online via live webinars. Visit habitat4humanity.org/apply to register.
  • Habitat for Humanity is moving forward with scheduled home closings, subject to circumstances beyond our control.
  • Here’s how you can help us.
    • Stay in touch with our Family Services team if you have questions or concerns during this time. Call 239.652.4663 and they will be available to assist you.
    • For reopening information and other Habitat updates, click here to follow us on Facebook.

Join Together in Prayer

  • This pandemic vigorously impacts the most economically and physically vulnerable members of our community, so please join us in praying for those who are ill and those who struggle financially. Pray for our government leaders and medical professionals. Pray for protection over our entire community and all those who come into contact with this Habitat ministry.

With 60 homes in some phase of planning or construction this year, we still have a busy Habitat build schedule ahead of us! Please take precautions to stay safe and healthy, take some time to rest up, and stay ready to build hope in families who need the strong foundation of decent, affordable housing. Above all, let’s be there to support one another during this difficult time. If you have any questions, please get in touch. Simply reply to this email or give us a call at 239.652.0434.

Thanks for all you bring to this ministry, See you again soon!

Becky Lucas
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties, Inc.