December 29, 2020

We have all been through a harrowing time together in 2020 that has forever changed us. We are looking forward to next year with hope and joy.
2020 - Year in Review
In spite of everything - or maybe because of everything - we are happy to report some great progress in 2020.
Taking care of our team
The safety of staff, volunteers, and homeowners was Habitat McLean County's top concern. That meant no groundbreakings and sparse volunteer activity. To complete the two 2019-20 builds interrupted by Covid, we leaned on contractors. The homeowners are earning their sweat equity hours doing inside work alone, and missing one of the most meaningful pieces of these partnerships - working alongside community volunteers. They will get that experience next spring as soon as we can safely start building again.

Our Board of Directors made staff employment a priority. No one lost their job or benefits and most of us could continue our work from the safety of our homes. Zoom became our best friend, making it possible to hold regular meetings and stay in touch.
In February, before the shutdown, we held a Founders Open House to recognize the vision and hard work of our affiliate’s founding members. Thirty-five years ago, their belief that we are here to do good in the world put us on this path.
Founders' Open House
Preparing for next year
We spent 2020 preparing for 2021. Due to the every-growing need for decent, affordable housing in McLean County, we're increasing our annual builds from 6 to 10 houses each year. That means finding efficiencies, restructuring procedures, gathering more tools and equipment, and raising more funds.

  • We're honored you continued your generous support of our work. Although we had to cancel or modify all our fundraising events, we had a record-breaking year for individual donations.

  • Family Services streamlined the partner family application process. We also established a donor-sponsored relief fund to help homeowners struggling with their mortgages and were able to get 4 partner families back on track.
  • A Brush With Kindness, our critical repair program, kept moving full steam ahead, as projects are all exterior and only take 1-2 volunteers. We completed 7 projects and have a dozen more in the queue. The Hastings family's new porch is pictured here.

  • The construction team completely reorganized the storage shed, building materials, and equipment, which will make every build going forward more efficient.
  • With increased builds, we’ll need more volunteer Project Directors overseeing each house. Working with the Chamber’s Leaders on Loan program, we developed a training manual on building skills and build-site safety to move volunteers confidently into that role.

  • We’re in the planning stage of a spring Blitz Build to jump-start the 2021 build season. The goal is to build and stand the walls for 4 houses in 1-2 weeks. We’ll need lots of volunteers and sponsors. More to come!
Keeping the doors open
The ReStore started the year with increased sales over last year. Although we had to close for several months, the minute we reopened, you were there. Even with shorter daily hours, occupancy limits, and safety procedures added to staff duties, monthly sales have kept pace with or exceeded last year. The addition of a second box truck led to a 13% increase in donation pickups for the year.
A typical day of donations at the ReStore
The time everyone spent cleaning house while sheltering in place turned into staggering piles of donations. Those donations turned into fabulous treasures and bargains, which we'll turn into lumber, drywall, windows, and floors next year.
We improved the pricing system for faster processing, reorganized the shelves for easier shopping, and in January of 2021, we’re installing a solar array on the ReStore roof, which we estimate will reduce our energy costs by 85%. And next spring – oh happy day! – we’re installing air conditioning to make everyone’s shopping experience even better.
Join us!
All, in all, a very productive year for Habitat McLean County. Thank you for providing a hand up, not a hand out to our hard-working neighbors. We hope you consider volunteering with us next year on a build site, for the Blitz week, or at the ReStore. Or, maybe you’d like to join a committee? We have several to choose from and we’d love to have your help.
Reminder: the office and ReStore are closed through Jan 1, 2021 for the holidays. Happy New Year!