The Gainesville Area Habitat for Humanity has been affected by the recent coronavirus pandemic and unable to raise money or build homes.

Office manager Patsy Reed has been working at Habitat for Humanity for the past seven years and she said things have slowed to a crawl the past few months.

“I’ve still been in the office for the past two months and we basically haven’t done anything,” Reed said. “When they shut everything down, we were supposed to have a fun run 5K. We haven’t been able to do any fundraising for the past three months or so. That’s how we operate is with donations and fundraisers and we usually have a couple of fundraisers a year. We were hoping to have one so we could build by the last quarter of the year.”

Reed said they are disappointed they likely won’t be able to build a house this year due to a lack of funding.

“We wanted to possibly build this year, but that’s probably not going to happen,” Reed said. “We’re disappointed because there are a lot of people that could really use another house, but we don’t start a house without having the funds to build it. A lot of people donate their time when we do build. It is a disappointment, but hopefully next year will be a better year.

“That’s what we’re all about and it is disappointing. We want people to have housing so they can help themselves.”

Habitat was $20,000 away from its goal of $85,000 required to build a house and due to the inability to forecast a fundraiser, board member Barry Wolzen said plans are on hold until the organization can start raising money again.

“We planned on having one in the late summer, but we can’t even plan for that right now,” Wolzen said. “We usually try to hold two to three a year and we were hoping for this to get us to the dollar amount so we could build one more house. It’s put a damper on a lot of nonprofits and it’s hard to do that stuff right now.”

The last time Gainesville Area Habitat for Humanity was able to build a house was in 2017, but in the meantime, it has employed a support system called A Brush With Kindness where it helps fix up small issues with houses.

“It has sunk in that we won’t be able to build a home, but we do A Brush With Kindness,” Wolzen said. “Instead of building a whole new house, if someone calls us with work that needs to be done on their house, we’ll find a contractor and pay for work to be done on their house. We can still do that right now, but they have to be low income.”

The plan to hold a 5K fun run is also on hold with no date in sight. Reed said it is potentially slated for the end of the year.

The need and availability of volunteers has also dropped, which has also impacted Habitat’s ability to build houses.

Reed said people have understood when inquiring about volunteering and they are anxious to get back to helping in any way they can.

“We always get several phone calls asking about how to help and I’ve had to tell them that we’re not able to build,” Reed said. “We have people that want to help. We tell them that we really appreciate the offer to help. We have a lot that we’re ready to build on on South Taylor Street. Whenever we get ready to build, we’ve got a lot ready to put a house on.”

Habitat can be reached at 940-665-3091 or by email at gahfh@sbcglobal.net.

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