ATLANTA (March 16, 2020) — Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford issued the following statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic:
In recent days and weeks, a wave of closures, cancellations and postponements has unfurled as the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged. Those decisions — taken individually, totalled in the aggregate — have been stunning acts of solidarity, expressions of concern and collective responsibility for the health and well-being of our communities and our neighbours.
That sense of connectedness and a willingness to actively help shape the world around us for the better have always been a hallmark of Habitat and supporters like you. They are deep in our DNA. They are what have sustained our work with families for more than 40 years, they are what will ensure we weather this unprecedented challenge, and they are what will be needed — more than ever — when we all emerge from this current crisis.
We have always believed that we will only find our way forward together. It’s true every day — and will be even truer now. The need we work so hard every day to meet will only grow.
When any disaster hits — a storm, a disease, a financial crisis — it is always those who struggle most who suddenly find themselves struggling even more. They are our neighbours. Families already living in conditions that aren’t conducive to good health, those whose finances have long been taxed beyond measure because housing eats up too large a portion of their income, those newly vulnerable because of the economic shock waves that something like this so often sets off.
As this disease has spread, we have implemented many changes ourselves, and we continue to monitor and wrestle with the uncharted territory we all find ourselves in now. Our utmost priority at all times is protecting the people and communities we serve, and that has meant pausing some activities. When the time is right, Habitat for Humanity stands ready to once again accelerate our efforts with renewed energy and commitment. We are so desperately needed. Because this should be a world where everyone has a decent place to live. It should be a world where we care for each other, where we recognize that we are all connected, and where we come together in times of crisis — and stay together when the urgency has lifted but the need remains.
As much as we wish there might be a playbook for the situation we all find ourselves in, it has not been written yet. What has been written is the command to love our neighbours and to act with kindness wherever we can. We thank you for the close and loving global community that you continue to help us build, and we appreciate your unwavering support.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org