Making a difference for home, from home
Habitat for Humanity volunteers make our mission happen. With their passion and determination, they help families build and repair homes, revitalize neighborhoods and help change policies so that even more can benefit from affordable homeownership.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our dedicated volunteers set out to use their skills in new, creative and socially distanced ways. They helped their neighbors at a time when safe, decent housing has never been more crucial.
Read on and be inspired by some of the ways housing champions across the country have continued to use their time and talents to help others. We certainly have been!
Letter writing in Atlanta
One of the most meaningful aspects of building with Habitat is the trust, support and friendships formed on the build site. In place of those face-to-face meetings during the pandemic, Atlanta Habitat asked volunteers to compose letters of support for soon-to-be homeowners letting them know their community was always with them — even if, temporarily, not in person. Between June 2020 and December 2021, more than 580 people composed stacks of letters filled with their congratulations and well-wishes for 36 first-time homeowner families.
Building baffles in Raleigh, North Carolina
Volunteers of all ages are leaving their mark on Habitat Wake homes by creating part of them at their own home. Baffles — made of cardboard, metal, foam or plastic — are installed in the interior of homes between the eaves overhang and outside wall soffit. They help improve airflow in the attic as well as keep insulation in place.
Each Habitat Wake home uses about 50 to 55 baffles. Under the guidance of their parents, kids and teens have been making baffles out of large pieces of cardboard and dropping them off at the Habitat office to be added to future new builds. In addition to helping complete homes, the baffles provide a blank canvas for the young volunteers to personalize with drawings and notes of encouragement for their future neighbors. More than 500 baffles have been made and donated to date.
Office assistance in Independence, Missouri
During the pandemic, Truman Heritage Habitat turned its attention inwards, revising and reimagining the operational aspects of their work to better and more efficiently serve their community. By posting specific skills-based, project-focused opportunities on a volunteer matching website and by partnering with a database consulting business, they recruited highly experienced virtual volunteers from around the country to tackle several items on their to-do list.
From crafting fundraising materials to completing more than 300 support tickets to improve their database, administrative volunteers saved Truman Heritage Habitat more than $150,000 over an 18-month period. The support and savings have helped the affiliate increase their operational capacity — allowing them to grow their financial education program, increase home repair and Aging in Place projects, and facilitate the opening of a new homeownership center that will serve as both office space and a gathering space for the community.
Desk building in Westwood, New Jersey
After several customers visited the Habitat ReStore looking for desks for their school-aged kids, volunteers at Bergen County Habitat began constructing desks and donating them to students in need of a personal place to attend online classes and complete their schoolwork at home. The project has given neighbors a way to connect and give back — either by funding the materials for a desk or constructing the desks themselves. Since 2020, volunteers have built more than 200 desks to help students across 12 local schools get the most out of their homes and their studies.
Translating in Bloomington, Indiana
Through translation services, bilingual volunteers have helped Habitat Monroe County make their homeownership programs more accessible to more of the area’s Spanish-speaking families. The volunteers’ remote translation support — from explaining the process to new applicants over the phone to translating documents online — has helped families feel supported on every step of their homeownership journeys. The translated resources provide the partnering families with practical knowledge, skills and encouragement helpful to becoming successful homeowners.
Advocating in St. Paul, Minnesota
Public policy is a powerful, far-reaching tool for combatting the ongoing housing crisis. During its annual Hill Day advocacy events in 2020, 2021 and 2022, Twin Cities Habitat in Minnesota went virtual, offering volunteers overviews of the state’s legislative process, insight on tangible pieces of legislation to advocate for and training on how to use their voices to influence change.
The events culminated in hundreds of advocates putting their training into practice by meeting with their respective lawmakers via teleconference. During these meetings, attendees discuss the importance of safe and affordable housing, share personal stories of its impact, and advocate for policies designed to help more Minnesotans.