The global Coronavirus pandemic and its public health and economic effects on our country are unprecedented. Many Habitat homeowners have lost income during this time because they either cannot work temporarily or they have been laid off. These families put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity to be able to buy an affordable home from BCS Habitat. Right now, those homes are more important than ever as places of refuge and we want to offer hope to Habitat families affected by this crisis.
This time of uncertainty is an opportunity for our organization to adapt and for this community to support its most vulnerable.
While Habitat is not taking action against homeowners who are unable to make mortgage payments during this time, the payments are necessary. Property tax will be due in January, and homeowners insurance premiums must be paid. The missed principal payments hurt Habitat’s ability to serve current and future homebuyers.
As a Habitat for Humanity chapter, we have three main sources of funding: donations, mortgage payments, and ReStore sales, all of which have been seriously impacted.
- As this crisis affects all people and businesses in our community, we expect to see a decrease in donations. In times of uncertainty, even donors with sufficient resources may delay their donations.
- During economic downturns, we can usually rely on ReStore sales, but we have closed our ReStore because of the current threat of community spread of the virus.
- Mortgage payments account for a significant portion of our funding, and we do not know how many homeowners will be unable to make their mortgage payments for the foreseeable future.
Even more important is the human toll job loss could have on homeowners themselves. Considering that more Texans filed for unemployment in the last four weeks (760,000) than in all of 2019, and that lower income workers are some of the most vulnerable to job loss, we are preparing for the worst. This new program will go a long way toward providing hope and housing stability during this difficult time.
We must adapt if we are to serve both households who need an affordable mortgage and those who have already bought homes through Habitat. Funds raised through the COVID-19 resiliency fund will be split between these efforts. Half of the donations will serve as a fund for homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to economic consequences of COVID-19, and the other half will allow Habitat to continue its mission of building homes, communities and hope.
Please consider giving what you can to this cause. It will make all the difference for the 250 families currently making mortgage payments and for all those BCS Habitat will help attain decent, affordable housing long into the future. Thank you!