Top ten Chatham Habitat moments of 2020

Pittsboro, NC – This year has handed us a global pandemic, a national reckoning with centuries of institutional racism, a brutal election season, and endless unknowns. People are suffering from months of isolation, sickness, and economic hardship.

Not much about 2020 has been easy, but there have been some bright spots for us at Chatham Habitat. None of the following highlights would be possible without the support of you, our donors, volunteers, and friends.

1. Sold 5 Safe, Healthy, Affordable Homes to Chatham County Families

In 2020, we closed on five new homes! Despite the pandemic, we finished those houses on our anticipated schedule, and even though the closings looked a little different, there are five families who are spending the holidays in safe, healthy, affordable homes. That’s because of your investment. We wouldn’t be doing this right if this wasn’t our #1 top moment of 2020!

2. Successfully Adapted During a Pandemic

In March of this year, we had to close our office and ReStores entirely, and close our construction sites to all volunteers. We asked our ReStore staff to switch gears and work on the job site to help keep our houses underway. We sent all our office staff home to work in their guest rooms and at their kitchen tables. We were incredibly fortunate that we did not have to furlough or lay off any of of our staff in 2020. Everyone jumped in with both feet and did things outside of their normal job descriptions, and that flexibility and creativity is what enabled us to keep the train on the tracks this year.

3. Helped Found the Chatham Solidarity Fund – Gave Financial Relief to 922 People

The Chatham Solidarity Fund was a partnership among 7 Chatham nonprofits with support from the Chatham Health Alliance. We were proud to work with this group to provide direct financial relief for families impacted by Covid-19 who did not qualify for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits. From April 2020 to date, the Chatham Solidarity Fund:
– Distributed $201,300 to 224 families
– Helped 922 individuals – 427 adults and 495 children
– Raised $215,174 from 650 donors Fund recipients share their gratitude: “I’m very grateful for the generosity of the donors who, without knowing us, put their hands on their heart and nobly decided to help. Thank you for helping us overcome this dark period with the beautiful light of your kindness. May God bless you forever.” “On behalf of my family, I want to thank everyone for helping us through this difficult moment. We were behind on our bills because my husband and I have been unemployed since mid-March because of Covid-19. Thank you so much for this donation to help us pay our bills.”

4. Launched a New Program: Raising Faith

In January 2020, we launched a new giving program: Raising Faith! We set a goal to reach our annual goal of $30,000 for the first time in 2023. Due to the hard work of our Faith Relations Committee, we have raised more than $24,000 in this campaign’s first year! We can’t wait to see what happens with this exciting program in the next few years.

5. Hosted Collegiate Challenge

In very early March – before all of the Covid-19 shutdowns – we hosted students from the University of Virginia and Husson University for a week of Collegiate Challenge! These two volunteer groups spent their Spring Break working on our job site. Aside from finishing a ton of framing and putting up roof trusses, these groups also re-built more than 50 scaffold walkboards. Collegiate Challenge was canceled shortly after this, and we weren’t able to do the second week with Hamilton College and the University of New Hampshire. We still appreciate these annual partnerships with universities across the country and are looking forward to next year!

6. Safely Brought Regular Volunteers Back to ReStore and Job Site

In June of this year, more than three months after we closed the office and ReStore, we were finally able to safely welcome volunteers back to the ReStores and construction sites! The day when we got to see our regulars again was one of the best of the year. We appreciate their work so much, and we missed them immensely while we were apart.

7. Bought a Beautiful New ReStore Box Truck

In August, we were able to get a brand new box truck for our ReStore pick-ups. While we love our older truck, it’s nice for our drivers to have air conditioning!

8. Started Large-Scale Research Project with Students from UNC Gillings School of Public Health

Top row: Emily, Emma, and Marlyn Bottom row: Morgan and Eduardo

This year, we are working with a team of students who are working on their Master’s Degrees in at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health! This wonderful team is developing a large-scale survey of all our Chatham Habitat homeowners to gather data on the long-term impact of affordable homeownership. While we didn’t expect to do this project via Zoom, we have loved getting to know these brilliant, hardworking people, and are so grateful for all their work.

9. Founded a Chatham Habitat Book Club

In order to stay in touch with our volunteers and friends in a new way this year, we launched a Chatham Habitat Book Club! We have read three books so far: The Color of Law, Evicted, and A Home on the Field. We will be reading and discussing Caste by Isabel Wilkerson in January, and we would love to have new folks join us for this fun new group in 2021. Click here if you’re interested in signing up.

10. Record Number of New Financial Donors

As we close the books on this year, we have one more remarkable bit of news to share. In 2020, the strangest and most disruptive year in recent memory, we had more first-time donors than ever before. It says a lot that in this unprecedented year, new donors stepped up and financially supported our work for the first time. We’re so incredibly grateful for the support, and we are looking forward to putting those donations to good use in 2021!

Don’t forget that there is a special $300 tax deduction in 2020 that will help most people give to charity this year – even if you don’t itemize your taxes. In order to take advantage of this deduction, your donation must be made online or postmarked on or before December 31, 2020.
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