New builds for 2020 uncertain because of COVID-19, says Habitat for Humanity P.E.I.

The financial toll of COVID-19 has Habitat for Humanity P.E.I. unsure of whether or not it will be able to go forward with new building projects this year.

Aaron Brown, the organization’s chief executive officer, says the charity is facing a number of challenges amid the pandemic. 

“A busy day in our ReStore would be anywhere from $2,000 to $2,500 a day in sales. So that’s every day that we’re not getting that amount of revenue,” he said.

“Our mortgage payments, we’re probably down anywhere from about $8,000 to $12,000 per month just in cash receipts from our mortgage payments. And then obviously fundraising is completely ground to a halt.”

Working with families and recovery planning

Brown said the charity has been working with families on a case-by-case basis and have deferred mortgage payments for some in an effort to help them during the health crisis.

“Putting someone in a position where they can’t afford their home, well that’s not something that we’re going to do,” he said.

While the charity has been able to secure additional funding from sources like the provincial government to ensure operations aren’t in jeopardy, Brown said officials will still need to proceed with some significant recovery planning over the next six to 12 months. 

Families waiting for a new home have been notified that, at least for the moment, it’s unclear whether the organization will be able to build any new houses as a result of financial setbacks. 

“Every week that this goes on it becomes less likely that we’re going to be able to do much or anything this year,” he said.

However, Brown confirmed that the charity is working on completing homes that were started last year.

While the situation is stressful, Brown said the health of family and the community is what he remains focused on. 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.

  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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