Submitted by Trena Brae
A new study by Habitat Broward has found more than 40 percent of the homeowners it serves have been furloughed, laid off, or had their hours cut due to COVID-19.
Not surprisingly, 27 percent of the more than 350 working families polled reported financial strain, including an inability to pay bills for utilities and essentials like groceries.
Habitat for Humanity of Broward CEO and Executive Director, Nancy Robin said the results demonstrate that low-income working families are already struggling with the impact of a shuttered Broward.
“As the economic shocks from this crisis ripple out, these are the families that are being hardest hit; they always are,” said Robin. “As more businesses close and hourly workers lose jobs, we’re going to need to work just as hard to flatten the curve of economic insecurity as we are COVID-19.”
The Community Foundation of Broward and other partner organizations are helping Habitat Broward to provide immediate relief to families in danger of losing ground on the tremendous strides they have made towards economic independence.
Part of Habitat’s study has involved calls to hundreds of Broward residents, like homeowner, Rudy Simpson, who was laid off at a shipping company and his wife Tricia’s hours have been severely cut.
“We’re low on money and food but are filled with hope and pray this will get better soon,” said Tricia Simpson.
“Now, more than ever, low-income working families like the Simpsons need our support,” said Robin. “Bold, decisive action and partners like the Community Foundation will help us do just that.”
Habitat Broward continues to build homes during the crisis and will conduct its first ever virtual dedication ceremony on May 16th for four families moving to homes they have worked more than a year for.
As the state and South Florida cautiously begin the reopening process, Habitat predicts that income and financial health will lag behind for these families who are often one or two paychecks away from financial collapse. The support of partners like the Community Foundation of Broward, the City of Pompano Beach, faith–based organizations and campaigns like the new Giving Tuesday NOW on May 5th prompted by COVID-19, provide urgently needed resources to bridge this gap.
To support Habitat’s efforts and find out about its efforts to combat COVID-19 visit: habitatbroward.org.