Updates on DuPage Habitat's Response to COVID-19
DuPage Habitat for Humanity has reopened our Restores Thursday through Saturday 11 AM - 4PM, and our Online Shop continues to operate with contactless pickup. We will continue to close our offices (with all office staff working remotely), our construction crew will continue working on emergency home repairs and on the Faith Build homes until further notice. In accordance with local mandates, in-person volunteer opportunities are postponed until further notice. Read below for more information.
Hello Habitat Family,
As we continue to have the shelter in place order extended, I want to provide you with updates regarding what is happening at Habitat.
All of our staff continues to work on pushing our mission forward. Our office staff is working remotely with appropriate people making staggered visits to the office to complete work that can only be done there. We have become quite proficient at using video conferencing and stay focused on doing all we can to help families achieve stability and self-reliance through shelter. These crazy times magnifies the critical nature of that effort. Teams that typically perform their activities within the community have made adjustments to maintain a safe environment for themselves and the families we serve and the volunteers who have assisted in that process.
Our ReStores are focused on re-opening safely as soon as it is possible to meet the critical needs of mission funding and provide our customers with the items they need to maintain their shelter. As of Monday, May 4th, all of our ReStores are now "open" for online shopping and contactless pickup. We are regularly updating our inventory and adding new items. Please visit us at dupagerestore.org and shopcsshabitatrestore.org.
In the coming weeks, our ReStores will re-open, safely, to the public for shopping and donations. Even though our stores have been considered essential, we chose to close them six weeks ago to keep our staff, volunteers, and customers safe. Since then, we've put safety protocols in place such as plexiglass barriers, social distancing markers, sanitizing schedules, and capacity controls. Things will look a bit different when you are dropping off your items, or picking up your next bargain, but we hope to provide the same great experience that you've come to love. We will keep improving our procedures to have the safest possible experience for everyone. We have missed our amazing volunteers, and are looking forward to welcoming them back soon. We are ready and looking forward to welcoming "masked" customers and donors through our doors to help fund our mission and families soon.
On our construction sites, we have implemented processes to meet and exceed CDC, state, and local guidelines. These include PPE for all workers (masks, gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, and handwashing stations). We have regular and frequent chemical sanitation of tools and surfaces at the job site. Our construction team is working without volunteers currently, focusing on projects that can accommodate social distancing. Our change in operations means we have scaled back our critical home repair work to avoid entering people's homes. We are finishing work on the 1st 2-unit townhouse in Hanover Park's Greenbrook Court during this time while making preparations for two additional buildings set to begin this month. The retention pond excavation has commenced now that the new sanitary and storm sewer work is complete. Additionally, the renovation work continues in the South Suburbs on a new three-bedroom property that should be ready for a new family by the end of the summer.
Our community engagement team stays focus on adapting our methods to continue to serve families. We are closing on homes virtually, using digital means, ensuring that our families can move in on time and vastly improve the conditions under which they will shelter in place. We are currently looking at closing on three homes this summer and have invited three new families to join our Homeownership program. Our homeowner informational sessions and education courses are streamed via webinar monthly and have had increased attendance. Although our core volunteer opportunities continue to be paused, we are still offering virtual volunteer information sessions and volunteer opportunities.
Our development team continues to focus on fundraising, individual, faith and corporate engagement, marketing, and special events. While we had to postpone our Women Build week, we look forward to welcoming our Women Builders in the fall. We also look forward to welcoming our corporate and faith partners soon. We may have a different feel to build days but will continue to provide an excellent volunteer experience.
Our governing board of directors, along with our senior leadership team, are currently developing plans that will safely facilitate a phased re-opening of all of our operations. The specific timeline for these activities is not fully established at this time, and we will continue to provide you with updates as they become available. I am inspired by the fantastic people on our team and other heroes in our midst who are rising focused on meeting the needs of our shared humanity.
I know that these are challenging times for everyone, and while we are all in this storm together, we do not all experience that storm in the same "boat." I hope that your "Boat" is meeting your needs and keeping you safe on this journey. Other's struggle, some without a "boat" at all. We are working hard to assist those that struggle now and those that will continue to experience a storm long after this one passes. You can help in that effort by joining us in our mission. Today, you can take action by supporting us with a donation that will help in a critical time when economic uncertainty has made funding our mission a greater challenge. You can donate by clicking here. You can also join us in our mission as a volunteer. While that is not possible to do today, you can take action now by clicking here to learn more about those opportunities. You can also connect us to your work, your church, your civic or social club; we provide various opportunities for group support of our mission. Do that right now by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann Frank wrote in her diary, "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world!" I hope that you find it in your heart to take action today. The world needs more people to take action, especially during times like these.
Grace & Peace,
I don't normally share a message like this one. But these are unprecedented times.
The Coronavirus outbreak is already hurting the families who partner with Habitat. While we've been flexible by making our homeowner information sessions available virtually, families in the sweat equity process are stalled. The Stay-at-Home order has upended our construction operations—volunteers are not able to join us in building and repairing homes. Homebuilding has slowed to a crawl.
Every day, you rely on people just like those who partner with us. Especially during this global emergency. Our partner families are nurses, food service workers, bus drivers, airport employees. Some are seeing hours slashed or wages eliminated. Others are working double-time to keep our community safe. The effects of this crisis will have ripple effects for months to come.
In a time when very little is certain, you can help build stability and certainty for your neighbors with a gift to Habitat.
We’ve been deeply touched by the messages we’re receiving asking how you can help. There are so many important organizations in need right now. Please consider including DuPage Habitat when you give generously to support your community.
When we get back to work, we'll need to double down to support local families who are counting on us. There are no extra funds in our budget to meet this unexpected and urgent need.
Your action is needed now. Please send a gift today to support local families.
As part of the Habitat family, you understand the power of community action. Thank you for your continued support during this time. And thank you for playing your part in promoting the well-being of our entire community.
I am writing to provide an update on the measures DuPage Habitat for Humanity is taking to protect the people we serve, our staff, and volunteers during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Here at DuPage Habitat, we share everyone’s concern about keeping our families and neighbors safe and are reminded how vital a decent home is for one's health and safety, you are all in our prayers. Following guidance and directives from our local, state, and national leaders, we are doing our part to prevent the spread of the virus.
Our office is temporarily closed to the public. Our construction sites and ReStores are temporarily closed. Special events and in-person meetings are being rescheduled. We are managing the best we can.
Effective immediately, our office is closed to the public until April 6. We will assess weekly to determine if there is a need to extend the closure further. Our Leadership Team has enacted an Emergency Response Plan that includes a remote work policy for office staff.
We expect this closure to be effective through April 6 and possibly beyond. Our team is working with individuals, corporate teams, and community groups to postpone previously confirmed volunteer dates and reschedule when possible. We are not accepting donations on-site until further notice. We will continue to screen donations online; please follow this link to submit a request.
We care about the people we serve, our staff, and volunteers. In accordance with city, state, and federal directives, we are postponing all in-person gatherings and events dependent on the size and date of the gathering. This includes committee meetings, Homebuyer classes, and our annual Women Build signature fundraiser. When possible, we will shift to virtual meetings. In most cases, we will reschedule for future dates. All registered participants and attendees will be directly notified as decisions are determined.
We are concerned about how this unprecedented pandemic will continue or escalate. The impact these measures will have on our ability to critically serve the community is unknown. What we do know is that the need for safe, healthy, stable housing is glaringly evident at this time of uncertainty. That said, please know that our board, volunteers, staff, and the hardworking families we serve deeply appreciate your support. Because of you, there are families in DuPage County who are settling into their Habitat homes with comfort and security.
For now, you cannot build with hammers and nails, but you can keep us building in the future with a financial contribution. If you are able, please make a donation to sustain our mission of bringing people together to build strength, stability, and self-reliance for our neighbors in need of healthy living conditions.
Let’s continue to take care of one another.
Dave Neary, Executive Director