The COVID-19 crisis has changed everything about the way New Yorkers work, play, shop and interact with the city we love. And while we may not be hammering nails and painting walls, that hasn’t stopped us from working hard for the families we serve.
As an organization that spends a lot of time on active construction sites, we take safety very seriously! That’s why we closed down our volunteer construction sites, our A Brush with Kindness volunteer sites, our ReStore and our Manhattan headquarters even before the state mandated against large gatherings.
So what are we up to, even as we are working remotely?
- We joined with Habitat for Humanity International and Habitat’s across the country to push Congress to include housing stability, eviction and foreclosure protections and funding for not-for-profits in their stimulus bills. Congress listened and passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, containing some of Habitat’s initial recommendations to Congress, including:
- Assistance for nonprofits, including new Small Business Administration loans and other important changes;
- Direct assistance to households through a broad, one-time cash payment to U.S. residents and a boost in unemployment assistance for workers.
- Stabilization for homeowners by providing mortgage forbearance, foreclosure protection and credit protection.
- New housing appropriations including $5 billion in Community Development Block Grants.
- We mobilized our coalition partners and supporters to advocate for the cancellation of the forthcoming Tax Lien Sale, which disproportionately effects low-income communities of color in normal times. Join us through social media to #AsktheMayor to cancel the lien sale as the City has already cancelled community outreach and education.
- We worked closely with our partners City, State and legal partners, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the State of New York Mortgage Agency and Goldstein Hall, to make sure our families can purchase, and move into their new homes on time. We even held our first-ever virtual closing, allowing Habitat Homeowner Mokarram C. purchase his first home!
- We’re working with the Attorney General to approve the offering plan for our 56-unit new cooperative Sydney House, paving the way for approved Habitat Homebuyers to begin our Home Purchase Program, and continue to work towards first-time homeownership.
- We continue to work with our architectural partners on future real estate projects – designing them, considering the environmental impact and more. We’re working with the city for funding them too! That means we’re moving forward on our future pipeline of homes, so we can help families long after this crisis has passed.
- Our Community Fund continues to reach out to new potential clients and funders in the pursuit of opportunities to preserve our neighborhoods’ existing affordable housing and seed new opportunities for the development of affordable homes.
- We’re connecting with our supporters over phone, video call and email, helping them to keep in touch with the organization they care for so deeply.