TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Due to COVID-19, many businesses have had to reduce hours and services or close completely.
Habitat for Humanity of Smith County has still been operating.
“We made changes to the way we operated, but we kept going full throttle," said Jack Wilson, the company’s CEO.
They had to make some changes to what they were used to, though.
“In the very beginning, we tried to decide how we were going to be safe to our employees," said Wilson. “And to the general public.”
Wilson said the business was considered essential.
“From the very beginning, we were considered an essential business because we’re in the construction business,” said Wilson. “Our habitat restore sells construction supplies, we have four different construction programs; but we’re also legally a bank.”
Wilson said the company asked many of those waiting for critical repairs — seniors, veterans, disabled customers — if they’d like work on their repairs to be continued during the pandemic.
“We asked them, do you want us to continue construction on your home or do you want us to wait and they said no,” said Wilson. “They’d say, I mean my roof is leaking, I need it fixed, I need a bathroom that works, I need air conditioning that works. Whatever the situation might be, so they didn’t want to stop.”
Wilson also stated some habitat homeowners are struggling with mortgage payments.
“We have x amount of mortgages for our homeowners and many of them are having difficulty, at the moment, because they’ve lost jobs or their hours were cut back,” said Wilson. “So, we’re working with them in forbearance agreements and that sort of thing, so we’re busier than ever.”
Wilson said they closed down their general offices to the public and those will remain closed for at least another month and employees in the restore will continue to wear masks and sanitize the store often.
He also said the company currently has three homes under construction but isn’t utilizing volunteers right now for safety reasons, they are hiring contractors for the jobs.