For some, “shelter in place” is a different kind of crisis With each passing day, we all find ourselves trying to adapt to the measures required to combat the spread of COVID-19. In countries and cultures all around the world, “stay at home” is the message of the moment. “Shelter in place.”
It’s the right thing to do, and if we are all able to flatten the curve, we know that we will have, together, saved countless lives.
But all of us at Habitat for Humanity also know that there are far too many families for whom this isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. The uncertainty so many of us feel today, these families have felt for a lifetime — if not generations.
Where for many “shelter in place” means figuring out logistics and adjusting mindsets, for others it only exacerbates the conditions with which they have struggled for so long. Houses already not healthy because of leaks or mold. Homes already overcrowded because the only way to afford rent or save up money is for extended family to stay together in a too-small space. Homes without easy access to a constant water supply. Spaces that shelter, but only just.
Where for many “stock up on what you need” means a frustrating, jarring trip through the inconveniently (and temporarily) hit-or-miss-stocked shelves of a local market, for others it’s a reminder of how close to the financial edge they have already been living every day. Imagine that, for these families, shopping for supplies always feels this way — not because of the crowds around them hurrying to acquire whatever they can, but because they have to make terrible choices every day. In order to make sure the rent can be paid, which would you choose? Filling a basket with healthy groceries. Filling a necessary prescription. Filling the tank of your car with the fuel that allows you to do either.
When these are the choices you face, you can’t win. As the economic shocks from this crisis ripple out, these same families will be hardest hit. They always are. For far too many, as businesses have closed and hourly workers have lost their jobs, it has already begun. These are the families with whom we partner.
They are going to need our hand up now more than ever. And now more than ever, our work — much like flattening the curve — will require all of us, together. You can help us help these families, these communities, our neighbors build back. Stronger, in solidarity and with your support. Jonathan Reckford CEO Habitat for Humanity International
A Message from Mario Artecona:
The last few weeks have been filled with uncertainty and anxiety. All of us at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami send you our best wishes during this very difficult time.
Although our staff is working remotely, we have been in touch with many of our volunteers, donors, and friends, all of whom share the same concern we do for our Habitat home owners. Being away from the office does not mean we have put our work on pause, but rather, we are taking this opportunity to refocus and plan so we can hit the ground running once business resumes.
Although Habitat’s mission of helping low-income families achieve affordable home ownership remains steadfast, we are facing the difficult reality that we’ll also have to work very hard to keep families in their homes. Many of the families in our program have already shared storied of layoffs, shortened hours, and furloughs. Low-income workers are always the first to bear the brunt of economic downturns, and this COVID Crisis is no exception.
We feel very blessed to have already served close to 1,300 homeowners in Miami-Dade over the last 30 years. Because of your support in the past, those families now have a safe and affordable place in which to shelter during this difficult time. But the need will be greater than ever as our community deals with the pandemic and its aftermath. The success of our affiliate is due in great part to the coming together of people. Partner families, donors, volunteers, and staff all united in one cause have proven to be an effective formula.
As we ride out this crisis, let us be thankful for our own comfortable homes where we are protected - and afterwards let’s continue working together towards a world where everyone has a decent place to call home. If you are able to do so, I humbly ask that you consider making a contribution at this time so we may continue helping the many families in need.
Thank you and be safe!
Mario J Artecona Chief Executive Officer
Our Response to COVID-19:
During this time we hope that you and your families are safe and healthy, below is information on our functionality during this time.
Volunteers - Until further notice our job sites are closed to all volunteers.
Office - Our Habitat office staff continues to work from home. Emails are the best way to reach us and we are happy to answer any and all of your questions. We continue to meet online and work to further Habitat's mission.