In the nearly two months since shelter in place began, Oregonians have come together like never before. We’ve seen people shop for groceries for their most vulnerable neighbors, hotels and community centers have taken in those experiencing houselessness, and many of you have joined our Safety of Home campaign to help build homes for 200 people who lack a stable, affordable home during this pandemic. Acts of kindness and generosity like this remind us that we are, indeed, all in this together.
In order to preserve the long strides we’ve made to strengthen our city, we must support strategic and innovative housing policies that prioritize our most vulnerable residents. Recently, 490 people applied for Habitat homes and many of them are working on the front lines in hospitals, grocery stores, and nursing homes. They are the essential workers who keep our city afloat. But after working long hours, they often return to unstable and unaffordable housing.
Here at Habitat, we see many families sharing apartments with other families just to afford rent and even more families living in unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. There was a housing affordability crisis before the Coronavirus hit–the crisis is intensifying. It’s time to focus on recovering together from this crisis, and ensuring long-lasting stability for our residents who need it most.
Despite major setbacks—not being able to safely host volunteers on our build sites, the closures of our ReStores, and the cancellation of our HopeBuilder Breakfast—our work here in Portland continues. We just completed framing 12 homes and set the foundation for 18 more in the Kenton neighborhood. With another 12 homes inching toward completion in the Portsmouth neighborhood and even more underway in Northeast and Southeast Portland, our work is not yet done.
But we cannot do this alone. The closures and cancellations we’ve had to make in order to prioritize the health and safety of our community have left us with a $250,000 funding gap. Our ability to continue building safe and affordable homes depends upon the generosity of supporters like you. Please consider making a gift and rallying your friends so that we can continue building safe homes for 200 people right here in Portland.
It is in these times of crisis that illuminate how resilient we can be when we give our neighbors a hand up. Doing so might not only help us all get through this, but could put us on a trajectory to come out of this crisis as a stronger, more equitable community.