Submitted by: Habitat for Humanity

As we start week three of the Stay at Home Order there is so much for which Habitat is grateful; our tireless healthcare workers, grocery store cashiers, first responders, and so many others who put themselves at risk everyday so that all can be safer in this precarious time. We are also grateful to our construction staff and dedicated supporters, who likewise are working safely to finish the first eight homes at Telegraph Road. A caring and generous community of Habitat donors and volunteers are stepping up to keep the essential Telegraph Townhome project going. We are thankful for our blessings and humbled by others acts of dedication and courage.

Photo courtesy: Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

President Teddy Roosevelt must have been contemplating times such as these when he wrote: “Much has been given to us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither”

At Habitat, the words of Teddy Roosevelt guide many decisions as we strive to be the best steward possible of the gifts we are given, but they have never seemed so profound as they do today. Deciding how best not to shirk “either” has top of mind when deliberating about Habitat’s duty to the 8 Telegraph Road families who are anxiously awaiting the completion of their home against our construction crew’s safety.

There are several good reasons why the construction of low-income housing has been designated an essential activity under the Stay at Home Order and this is the North Star we have been navigating by in deciding to keep construction going at Telegraph Road. One of the greatest impacts of simple, decent, affordable home ownership is significantly improved health outcomes. In some areas of the world secure housing is being prescribed by physicians and the medical community.

Photo courtesy: Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Many of Habitat’s Partner Families have children with acute respiratory conditions as a result of their substandard and poverty living conditions. Our compassion and sense of duty for those whose life is impacted by poor health is comparable, though not as heroic, to those who are fighting this pandemic on the front line. The work done behind the scenes by Habitat to nurture better health outcomes is less glamorous and often unspoken, but it is the grunt work which enables us to lean forward and look to permanent solutions. As the solution to ending poverty is to build wealth and not dependence, the solution to a pandemic is immunization, not a ventilator. This is the essence of the Habitat model. Safe, decent, secure, affordable housing is the immunization and not the Band-Aide for our Partner Families. This is why we continue to build as an essential activity. This is our duty.

Last week I noted that Habitat’s Finance Committee is projecting a $9,500 shortfall for April due to COVID-19 and the complete shutdown of the Habitat Store. The email resulted in $3,500.00 in online donations for which we are especially grateful. If you are in a financial position to do so, please donate here to help cover the rest of the shortfall and continue this essential work.

We wish you and your loved ones the blessings of Easter and the Resurrection. Have faith that we shall all rise in our own way in the midst of this scourge. Please use this time of many unknowns and stress to pray for all those heroes in our wonderful community who are working tirelessly to keep us healthy and return us to a semblance of normalcy.

In faith and partnership,
John Moon, Executive Director

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