Pandemic and Supply Shortages impact local nonprofit Habitat for Humanity

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – With the higher than normal construction prices and supply chain shortages-many of the local nonprofits have struggled during the pandemic.

The Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Chattanooga Area says this past year has presented them with many challenges.

“The big struggles that we have faced is that the value of home has become more apparent and the cost to build it has become much more extreme. You couple that with the need that is there. There are more people on our waiting list than ever before,” says Jens Christensen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Chattanooga Area.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the price of lumber has increased by 300% since the start of the pandemic. 

Prior to the pandemic, Habitat could build a home from start to finish in about 12 weeks. Now, standard orders are taking 16 to 20 weeks to arrive, causing builds like their annual women’s build to be delayed.

“We have already been delayed for over two weeks with pouring the foundation for the home. We’re hoping to build the walls this weekend. But because of the cost and concrete continuing to go up and because of the demand we have been delayed over and over again. We’re hopeful that we will complete it within the next two months but if we continue with these delays it could actually go into the Christmas season,” says Christensen.

Though this year has been challenging, to say the least, Habitat says that one of the ways they have adapted to the delays in the home construction process is  by fixing up homes that just need renovations .

“What we have been doing a lot more of over the last year is actually home repairs. We have been helping people bring their housing up to code so that it’s a nice safe place to actually live. We have to think about the fact that we are not just building a house, we are helping that family build a future,” says Christensen.

The organization says that they are always looking for volunteers.

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