Dear Habitat friends,

“Home for the holidays” has traditionally signified a magical time of year when we gather with our families and friends to celebrate in the warmth and comfort of our homes. This year, the holiday season will look different for so many of us. As we face the continued impacts of COVID-19, phrases like, “safer at home” and “shelter in place” highlight the importance of home as never before. Many of us are questioning what the “new normal” might be.

Even before COVID-19, more than 18 million U.S. households — 1 in 6 — were spending half or more of their income on housing. The pandemic’s economic impact is only increasing the number of people struggling to make ends meet, while further exposing inequalities in communities already suffering as a result of systemic discrimination in housing policy.

This holiday season, you can help shape a portion of the new normal by investing in affordable homeownership, critical home repairs, aging in place modifications, and emergency home repairs for Iowa Valley Habitat families.
Every gift we receive will make a difference in ensuring our neighbors get the help they need to continue living safely in their homes through our Helping Hands home repair program. In a year when the health and safety of every person in the world are at risk, Helping Hands will assist 26 households with critical home repairs, emergency home repairs, and aging in pace modifications.

We recently launched a pilot program in Johnson County to help low-income homeowners in need of Emergency Repairs and Major Appliance Replacements (ERMAR). ERMAR, an extension of Helping Hands, ensured that one homeowner received furnace repairs ahead of the winter season. Jane Dohrmann of Iowa City Hospice told us: “I served a person with serious illness whose goal was to stay in his home. He shared with me that his furnace needed to be fixed and he did not have financial resources to pay for the repairs. I contacted Habitat and learned about the Helping Hands program. I assisted him in completing the application and he was approved for assistance." Jane continued to explain how Helping Hands served her client after being approved. "[Habitat] not only repaired his furnace so that he could have heat this winter, but also identified needed repairs in the venting system and fixed them. Thank you so much for helping to achieve this person’s goal to remain at home.” 
At Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity we are challenged to make sure safe, affordable housing is provided to families that need it – and we need your help to do it. Every gift we receive makes a difference in bringing security to families like Fiston and Nadege. In a year when nothing has been normal, Fiston and Nadege were disappointed, but not surprised, to hear the home they had been preparing to build would have to wait until 2021 or 2022. Fortunately, an unlikely opportunity came about; now their family of four will move into a Habitat home just in time to welcome a new baby in January. The family is working with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity to renovate an Iowa City home and is scheduled to complete construction by December.

Every gift, whether you make a one time or monthly donation to Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity, helps ensure that more of our neighbors will safely celebrate the holidays at home this year. Thank you very much for your compassion for the people who urgently need secure housing — this season and every day of the year. 
In partnership,

Heath Brewer
Executive Director
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity | iowavalleyhabitat.org