Wow, whoever thought the Spring of 2020 would turn out like this? I sure didn't. However, it did, and we now have to make some changes to our lives and the way we go about interactions with others.
Putnam County Habitat for Humanity takes the safety and health of its volunteers, partner families, staff and contractors very seriously. As the severity and reality of Covid-19 became evident, we shut down our office to the public. We cut back our staff's full-time hours. Staff limited their interactions with one another. We shut down a few Critical Home Repair projects that we were in the middle of. We delayed the start of any new projects. We suspended home inspections of any potential/future Repair projects. We canceled in-person meetings. We utilized the wonderful world of technology by using Zoom and Microsoft Teams to continue to meet and discuss important Habitat topics.
Now, we are starting to slowly return to business as usual......or the "new" usual. How are things going to look as we reopen?
1. The office staff will still be taking all responsible and any necessary precautions in the office. Keep in mind that we have office space in the Ottawa Presbyterian Church. We must take the church and its congregation into consideration with our office practices.
2. Critical Home Repair projects will restart. As a matter of fact, one of them restarted last eve. While our small crew of volunteers was at the residence, the homeowner, and volunteers wore masks and did their best to keep the proper social distancing.
3. The Critical Home Repair Committee, as well as the Construction Committee will resume their monthly meetings in June. The meetings will accomodate all necessary social distancing precautions.
4. Home inspections for future Repair projects will resume, soon.
5. Also, our next offering of Financial Peace University will start, soon. So, if you'd like to take part in that, please call the office to get information (419-523-9621).
For 6-8 weeks, our state was in a State at Home precautionary mode. What was reinforced to me was the need for decent, safe and healthy housing. Even in Putnam County there is dire need for decent, safe and healthy housing. Over 40% of our homes are 60+ years old. We have a population that is living longer.......in these older homes. Some of our elderly population is having to make decisions to either pay for medications, groceries, etc......or maintaining their homes. I see it ALL OF THE TIME. We do home inspections for the Repair projects and time and time again the elderly homeowners tell us that they have had to stop taking medications in order to try and maintain their homes......or vice versa. During one home inspection, the homeowner showed us a large black garbage bag full of unpaid medical bills that they couldn't pay.......because they were struggling to keep the gas bill paid, gas in their car, groceries in their cupboards, water turned on, etc etc. Putnam County Habitat for Humanity is proud of their Critical Home Repair program and what has done, and will continue to do for the residents of Putnam County.
We know it's a difficult time for us all. We know that many of our residents are unemployed or laid off, now. We know that you may already be helping a friend or loved one through this difficult time.......but to keep helping the families in dire need that we are, we need your help, too. If you are in any position to consider a financial gift to Putnam County Habitat for Humanity, please know that we will use it in the most responsible way. Did you know that since September of 2016 we have worked with 30 families to build new or repair their existing homes? We want to continue this great mission and any help that you may be able to offer would be greatly appreciated.
Continue to check in on your neighbors, safely. Make sure that everyone is safe and healthy. Wave at your neighbors, and even strangers. Sometimes, something as simple as a wave and a smile can help turn around a tough day.
Love, Mercy and Compassion to all,
Matt Rau/Executive Director