COVID-19 Impact on Habitat Choptank

Below are past updates from our affiliate.
May 4th Update:

In case you missed last week’s newsletter, two local organizations in our community are running short on food supplies for food to distribute to families so that they have at least two meals each weekend – Mid Shore Meals Til Monday in Dorchester County and CarePacks in Talbot County.

Mid Shore Meals til Monday Most Needed Food Items with an emphasis on Macaroni & Cheese and Peanut Butter (no glass jars please).

CarePacks Most Needed Food Items:

  • Bags of apples and oranges
  • Bags of potatoes
  • Bags of carrots
  • Boxes of cereal
  • Boxes of pasta
  • Jars of Peanut Butter

For those of you who are able to help, we’ve established the following schedule and locations for your convenience.

Drop off Days/Times: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 3pm

Drop off locations: 314 Cambridge Landing in Cambridge
(drop off in garage)

230 South Aurora Street in Easton
(drop off on covered porch)

Our staff will make sure the supplies are delivered to Meals to Monday and CarePacks each week until this pandemic is over.

April 27th Update:

With construction being considered an essential business in Maryland, work has continued on our ReStore while it has been closed. This is to ensure that we will be able and ready to reopen when it is safe for businesses to do so.

Check out the “sneak peeks” to the right of the renovation progress which is being done by local contractors who are working hard to get our ReStore ready.

 

 

 

With the resignation of our ReStore Manager prior to COVID-19, we are also in the process of hiring for that position. We appreciate the hard work and 8+ years of dedication of Chris Smith, our former Manager. We know we have difficult shoes to fill in finding her replacement. Our goal though is to bring a new Manager on board in May to assist in future staffing, store layout and inventory control, as well as a grand reopening.

We miss our ReStore staff, volunteers, donors and shoppers and thank you for your patience while we use this time to reset and restart.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us to usher in a season of hope for families in need in our community.

April 21st Update:

As we mentioned last week, where homes are completed and buyers are ready, we are renting to our home buyers while loan applications are pending. We are excited to report that, under this arrangement, one home buyer and her family have already moved into their forever home in St. Michaels and our above home buyer moved into his forever home this past weekend in Hurlock.

These efforts are made possible by supporters of Habitat Choptank and we thank you. Legislation contained in the recently passed federal CARES Act encourages donors to make tax deductible gifts in 2020 to charitable nonprofit organizations like Habitat Choptank. One of the changes enables Americans to deduct up to $300 of cash contributions, even if they do not itemize on their return.

Another change increased the limitations on charitable contributions during 2020 for Americans who do itemize by suspending the 50 percent of adjusted gross income limitation.

April 13th Update:
  1. Communication with all of our Habitat mortgage holders continues to ensure that home owners who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 are able to defer payment on their mortgage, providing much needed relief and the assurance that their family can remain safely in their home.
  2. The Federal Cares Act has placed a moratorium on rental evictions but we are monitoring this situation closely to ensure that individuals and families who are in our home buyer program have access to an advocate and support from Habitat Choptank, if necessary.
  3. As we mentioned last week, where homes are completed and buyers are ready, we are renting to our home buyers while loan applications are pending. We are excited to report that, under this arrangement, one home buyer has already moved into her forever home in St. Michaels and another is schedule to move to Hurlock in the days ahead.
  4. We continue to focus new builds with the use of contractors as construction is still considered an essential business in Maryland. We have focused this work on homes where home buyers will be ready to close within the next six months.
  5. Our Home Buyer Selection Committee is working on a Rent to Own concept for future builds where the home is ready but the buyer still needs to complete sweat equity and savings. Our goal is to serve more families in need earlier in the queue by providing safe, quality and affordable housing, which we know is now more important than ever.
  6. Habitat Choptank recently applied for the Payroll Protection Program, legislation under the federal CARES Act, which enables businesses, including nonprofits, to apply for a loan during this difficult time. The loan, or a portion of the loan, could convert to a grant in the future and we hope to be able to use this funding to rehire and reopen our ReStore when the future is more clear.       

Be on the lookout for updates and more ways you can sow into the future of families in need in our community. Your continued support is greatly needed and appreciated at this time.

April 6th Update:

As mentioned last week, Habitat Choptank, like many non-profit organizations has been hit hard by this pandemic.

Here’s a brief update on the impact of COVID-19 on operations and an update on our recent activities.

  1. Sadly, we were forced to make the difficult decision to layoff our ReStore staff. Our number one priority was to keep the employees safe and to follow the Governor’s Executive Stay At Home Order. With the enhanced Unemployment Benefits and the uncertainty of how long our ReStore would need to remain closed, we believe this was the best course of action. Staff will be invited to reapply for positions when we have more information on when the ReStore may reopen.
  2. In an effort to control expenses, construction on our job sites has been reduced to those sites where a home buyer will be ready to move in within 6 months. Construction is still considered an essential business in the State of Maryland and as such our Site Supervisors are scheduling local contractors to continue work, which helps local businesses and our local economy.
  3. In addition to supervising contractors on job sites, our Construction staff are also providing support for the renovations taking place at the ReStore. The ReStore, however, remains closed to the public and cannot accept donations.
  4. Our Home Buyer Selection Committee is working on a Rent to Own concept for future builds where the home is ready but the buyer still needs to complete sweat equity and savings. Our goal is to serve more families in need earlier in the queue by providing safe, quality and affordable housing, which we know is now more important than ever.
  5. As we mentioned last week, where homes are completed and buyers are ready, we are renting to our home buyers while loan applications are pending. We are excited to report that, under this arrangement, one home buyer will move into his forever home this week in Hurlock. Congratulations Greg!
  6. We recently applied for the Payroll Protection Program, legislation under the federal CARES Act, which enables businesses, including nonprofits, to apply for a loan during this difficult time. The loan, or a portion of the loan, could convert to a grant in the future.
  7. Affiliate staff continue to work from home using remote technologies to keep us connected and focused on our mission.
March Update:

As of Tuesday, March 17th, all Habitat Choptank construction job sites and our ReStore will be closed and all programming and events temporarily suspended. Our ReStore will not be accepting donation drop-offs or completing donation pick-ups at this time. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this uncertain time.  Our leadership team will continue to communicate with you in a timely and transparent manner and expect to update you before the end of the month concerning how long these temporary measures will last. We will continue to use e-mail and Facebook to provide regular updates about the status of our facilities and programming moving forward.