Habitat for Humanity builds homes despite pandemic

COVID-19 prevented an Omaha non-profit from doing business as usual this year.
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 4:12 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - COVD-19 prevented an Omaha non-profit from doing business as usual this year. Habitat for Humanity Omaha still managed to improve neighborhoods by building new homes, they just had to build them a little slower.

It took Habitat Omaha a little longer to build this house because they had to call off the Blitz.

It was an annual event, the Builders Blitz, thousands of volunteers and professionals working together to build an entire block of homes in about a weeks’ time.

But COVID-19 stopped the Blitz, this year only the professionals handled the construction.

“Obvious with the pandemic happening we had to really kind of limit what our staff was able to do, also my teams are used to working three to seven people at a time with this happening we had to kind of limit their exposure also,” said Drew Lier, Director of Construction and Land Development.

Work crews had to break down into groups of two. Habitat Omaha was still able to complete this home and others on this north 17th street neighborhood. Having pros on the job really helped, as everyone adapted to working during a pandemic.

“So, from them making time to come assist and help out a family in Northeast Omaha was a huge benefit for us,” said Lier.

Instead of the week to ten days, it takes to build a home during the Blitz, it took two and a half months to complete this five-bedroom home. The family will move in before the end of the year.

“I think when this first started this whole pandemic and this whole situation with COVID there was a lot of fear and there wasn’t much hope for everybody not just within our organization but in general so being able to have a really successful year and fulfill the commitments we made to the families that we serve is a huge benefit and feels really really good for everybody that’s been involved,” said Leir.

Habitat Omaha usually constructs 52 houses a year, this year Habitat Omaha built 46 homes during a pandemic. Just shy of the average for a regular year.

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