FINDING THE LIGHT IN 2020
Despite the challenges that arose in 2020, the Habitat Chicago community rose to the occasion and faced adversity with resilience and grace. From determined program participants to dedicated supporters, everyone stepped up and played an important a role in making our city a better place.
To highlight the bright moments of 2020, we asked our Habitat Chicago team to reflect and share some outstanding moments from the past year:
>> Starting the year off strong on January 11th, we held both a Home Care workshop and a Home Dedication ceremony in West Pullman. Despite the snow showers covering the city, it was a heartwarming moment to celebrate the seven Habitat homebuyers and their accomplishments in the Affordable Homeownership Program. Meanwhile, only a few blocks away, community members were learning cost-effective skills to weatherize their homes.
>> In March 2020, Habitat Chicago broke ground on a new West Pullman development. Our partnership with the City of Chicago and their City Lots for Working Families program spearheaded the work, incorporating accessibility and aging-in-place considerations into the home designs.
>> At the foothills of the pandemic in March, we finalized a sponsorship with First Savings Bank for one of our homes in West Pullman. Their generous $150,000 contribution to our organization was critical during a time of great uncertainty.
>> This year, we were able to continue funding innovative resident-led improvement projects in West Pullman and Greater Grand Crossing through our Neighborhood Grants Initiative. Though we had to make some adjustments to the program due to COVID-19, we were blown away by the commitment and adaptability of the community leaders that stepped up to make their projects a reality in these difficult times. From community resource distributions to block beautification projects, this year filled us with hope for what is to come in 2021.
>> After putting months of hard work in our homeowner education classes and volunteering 250+ hours on the build site, seven homebuyers acquired the keys to their new Habitat homes. This accomplishment felt even sweeter after navigating many last-minute changes due to the pandemic.
>> In October, our Women Builders raised over $393,000, far exceeding our goal of $300,000. Throughout the course of the month, we welcomed over 400 women volunteers on the build site with enhanced safety protocols put in by our staff. These fundraising and building efforts were crucial to supporting seven women on the road to first-time homeownership.
>> Throughout the unexpected challenges of 2020, ReStore Chicago was continuously met with exceptional support for our DONATE - SHOP - VOLUNTEER call-to-action. Following the reopening of ReStore Chicago after the stay-at-home order, both donations and sales set new records, and we welcomed back dedicated volunteers to help sustain our operation. With devoted donors, customers, and volunteers at ReStore Chicago, we are able to continue building brighter futures for our Chicago neighbors.
“Our amazing Habitat Chicago team showed resiliency throughout the year ensuring we could continue advancing our programs, grow ReStore, and serve our Chicago neighbors. The team is creative, committed, and a joy to work with.”
- Jennifer Parks, Executive Director
Navigating 2020 was a test for us all. Yet, because of the thousands of caring Chicagoans we are lucky to work alongside, we were able to continue our work of building a more just Chicago. Here's to 2021 — may our community carry the same fervor this year as we did last!