Nonprofit trying to prop up families now to avoid bigger problem later
MADISON, Wis. — The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are putting a local nonprofit in a tough spot.
Dane County Habitat for Humanity has hundreds of homeowners, but many are now at risk of missing their mortgage payments.
Like many parents, Brooke Espinoza has been focusing a lot on her kids’ education while they’re distance learning. Her nights are spent worrying about making ends meet.
“My husband is working right now, but could he be furloughed tomorrow? Could he be laid off?” Espinoza says.
A big part of her financial worry had been keeping up with the mortgage payments for their Habitat for Humanity home. Her family just received financial assistance because of the pandemic. Dane County Habitat has nearly 300 families like the Espinozas in homes right now that are responsible for paying their own mortgage.
“We found that if they get three months behind (on their payments), they’re never going to catch up,” says Dane County Habitat for Humanity CEO Valerie Renk.
Habitat now has a special fund to keep families afloat financially by covering their May and June mortgage payments. Renk’s bigger worry is what will happen in the next few months. Without volunteers, Habitat’s driving force, construction has slowed. Paid employees can still work, but they’re on pace to finish the fiscal year two homes short of their goal. 20 families are currently waiting for Habitat to build them a home.
“They’ve already told their landlords they’re moving out, they’ve already told their kids they’re going to a new school, you’re going to get your own bedroom,” said Renk.
To contribute to Dane County Habitat for Humanity’s relief fund, click here.
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