I am tired of COVID-19. It is omnipresent and unwelcome. I am exhausted by the challenges it presents every day. I have especially struggled with how to finish the homes Habitat is currently building in both Bellingham and in the County, not only from the perspective of how to pay the bills, but in a way which is safe. Yet, now that I have finished whining, I know we are not alone and remain grateful and hopeful.
I am grateful that the struggle is demanding deep introspection within the affiliate about decent, secure housing and exposing some raw edges around risk and health outcomes related to shelter. The construction of low-income housing is considered an essential activity under Governor Inslee’s Stay at Home Order. In our decision to continue building the question became “where is the greater good and where is the greater risk?” when balancing the short-term safety of staff and volunteers against the long-term safety of our low-income clients. The answer was clear due to the urgency and broader societal impacts. Build!
We can look to the World Health Organization for statistics which support our decision to continue construction. The W.H.O. states that as many as 1 in 4 people worldwide live in conditions that harm their health and safety. The local United Way states that over 48,000 in Whatcom County struggle with housing. We only need to look to our local Habitat Partner Families to understand the impacts and the dire consequences of substandard housing. We have witnessed both negative and positive life and death outcomes here in Whatcom County. We have mourned the death of children and celebrated the absence of respiratory complications with senior citizens. The negative outcomes give us resolution to do better and the positive outcomes give us affirmation of purpose and hope.
It is this resolve to do better that makes it clear that we need to forge ahead as rapidly as we can. Safe, decent, affordable shelter is part of the cure, not a Band Aid, for scourges such as COVID-19. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Maybe trite, but never has this old saw rung so true.
This is probably the worst time to ask for support, but we need to ask. Not asking never works. Please help get the message out about homes, health, and our determination for permanent solutions. Visit our Facebook and Instagram message boards, like and share with your networks.
If you agree that a cure is better than a Band Aid, and you are in a position to do so, please support our work financially. Every gift helps, be it $10 or $10,000. Help keep us building.
In faith and partnership,
~ John Moon