Just as Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity was getting ready to kick off its next Hamilton home build, COVID-19 changed everyone’s plans.
Now, a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation has the project back on track.
The Wells Fargo grant came at a critical time for the Hamilton home build, Lakeshore Habitat Executive Director Don Wilkinson says.
“Due to COVID this home build was delayed from a fundraising and construction standpoint. Support from Wells Fargo allows us to continue to move forward to provide a stable place to call home for Julie and her kids,” he says.
No more gatherings
In March, Lakeshore Habitat had planned a community gathering at a church in Hamilton to kick off a home build for Julie Cadman and her family.
“Events like this are one way Lakeshore Habitat recruits volunteers to help build the home as well as raise the remaining funds needed,” Development Director Dave Rozman says.
However, nothing was going to happen with a statewide stay-at-home order in place.
Support drops off
As the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up, Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity saw a dropoff in support on several fronts.
“Businesses that would typically support a home build were themselves in a tough spot and not able to financially support (Habitat),” Rozman says.
The nonprofit’s spring fundraiser had to move online and couldn’t raise the money an in-person event usually would. The Habitat ReStore on Riley Street had to close for seven weeks.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order halted construction across the state and delayed the start of the Habitat home build for the Cadman family.
When building was allowed to resume, a dearth of corporate volunteer groups posed another roadblock.
However, regular volunteers stepped up and have “done a phenomenal job supporting this home build,” Rozman says.
Then Wells Fargo came through with a $15,000 grant for the project.
It’s part of an $8.1 million Wells Fargo Builds donation to Habitat for Humanity International for capacity building and direct mission support to build, renovate, and repair more than 350 affordable homes across the United States. The grant is part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s billion dollar philanthropic commitment to create more housing affordability solutions by 2025.
“Safe and stable housing enables people to build upon the rest of their life,” says Marybeth Howe, commercial banking executive at Wells Fargo, “and, together, we can shift the narrative to help others understand that housing affordability is both an economic and humanitarian crisis that’s taking a toll on millions of people.”
In 2019, Wells Fargo employees volunteered almost 2 million hours of service, including building, repairing, and improving 674 homes across the U.S.
‘Let’s go home’
“It definitely taught me some more patience,” Cadman says now of the delays.
Cadman has four kids (ages 19, 14, 11, and 9), and she is overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who is working to help them “go home.”
“It’s not going to be much longer and I’m going to be able to say to the kids, ‘let’s go home.’ That’s huge,” Cadman says. “I’m going to cry when I say it.”
Build the Block
Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity is always trying to help more families go home. In lieu of its annual fall dinner fundraiser, the Holland nonprofit will conduct several outdoor events during the week of Oct. 5 to celebrate its 30th anniversary and the kick-off of Park Vista Place development.
Together with Jubilee Ministries, Lakeshore Habitat will build 10 single-family homes on the corner of Lincoln and 40th Street in Holland.
Families are welcome. Tour the Park Vista Place development, enjoy local goodies, and hear about the 30 year history of Lakeshore Habitat and its vision to serve more families in the West Michigan community.
Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 6-8 p.m. (Program at 7 p.m.)
Appetizers from Grow and Hudsonville ice cream will be served.
Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 6-8 p.m. (Program at 7 p.m.)
Appetizers from Grow and Cranes cider and donuts will be served.
Current state safety guidelines regarding masks and gathering sizes for outdoor gatherings will be followed. Each event will take place completely outdoors; social distancing measures will be in place; masks and hand sanitizer will be available.
For details or to RSVP, visit https://pages.services/info.lakeshorehabitat.org/20-build-the-block/