We are safer at home. The best way to protect ourselves and others is to stay home. We've been hearing that over and over the past few months. But what if your home has critical repair needs that are making you sick? What if your home is overcrowded? What if you can't afford your home because you haven't been able to work?
Research suggests that COVID-19 is disproportionately effecting low-income populations. Low and limited-income individuals are more likely to become infected, and are more likely to die, primarily as a result of underlying and existing health conditions. Even for those who do not become infected, these families are more likely to experience economic hardship through loss of income.
But where does housing fit in?
Low-income families are more likely to live in housing that already damages their health - making them more susceptible to the pandemic and more likely to suffer complications. Mold and pest infestations exacerbate asthma, lead paint and other environmental toxins cause neurological damage, and all of these issues linked to poor housing quality are more likely to send people to the hospital - something we are desperately trying to avoid right now.
If you are living in a house that is overcrowded- where you squeeze as many members of your extended family into one home because it is all any of you can afford, it is impossible to maintain social distancing.
If you don't have running water and you can't afford the repairs, you can't even wash your wands.
Sheltering at home requires good housing.
Even before the pandemic and the historic loss of wages that has gone along with it, 1 in 6 families in the United States was already spending more than half of their income on paying their rent or their mortgage. Now we are seeing that 1 in 5 households who rent their home could face eviction by October.
As we work to prevent the spread of this virus in our community and around the world, we must prioritize housing as a way to keep all of our families safe and healthy. By supporting the work of Habitat for Humanity, you are helping to ensure local families in our community have access to a decent, affordable home both during the pandemic, and after.