Guest blog by Brady Tongen
Twin Cities Habitat Volunteer Coordinator
Housing is more important than ever. Yet, through the COVID-19 pandemic many Minnesotan’s have struggled to stabilize their existing housing. In response, the Minnesota State government launched the Coronavirus Housing Assistance Program (CHAP). Thanks to three fantastic volunteers, Twin Cities Habitat was able to manage hundreds of CHAP requests.
CHAP provides housing assistance payments to help prevent eviction, prevent homelessness, and maintain housing stability for eligible renters and homeowners. Twin Cities Habitat joined up with 50 other Minnesotan agencies to review applications from individuals and families requesting assistance, verify eligibility, and process payments for eligible expenses on behalf of households.
Twin Cities Habitat specifically assists with intake of homeowners, and our program is focused on external homeowners in the seven-county metro as well as Twin Cities Habitat homeowners. With the influx of housing assistance requests, CHAP volunteers Brittany, Gayle, and Jack stepped up to help virtually with the intake of the program. So far, they've reached out to those who have expressed interest in receiving assistance, collected various forms needed for verification, and helped manage the queue with over 500 households.
Special thanks to our CHAP Volunteers!
Chief Programs Officer, Shereese Tuner shared, “Without the support of volunteers, we simply could have not made the impact that we have so far.” Their dedication to our mission is shown in their respective stories.
Jack started volunteering with Habitat in 1992, committing over 28 years to the organization. He has served on construction sites, and most recently helped with our Program and Services department.
Habitat volunteer Jack (picture taken prior to COVID-19)
Gayle has been with Habitat for 13 years and, like Jack, has been in a variety of roles ranging from a gardening volunteer to a front desk volunteer in the office.
Brittany, CHAP volunteer & Habitat Homeowner since 2019
(picture taken prior to COVID-19)
Brittany is new to volunteering with Twin Cities Habitat. She purchased a Habitat home in 2019 and wanted to find a way to give back because of the ways that Habitat had impacted her life. You can read more about Brittany's homeownership journey here. Thank you, Jack, Gayle, and Brittany, for your dedication to Habitat and helping provide hope for hundreds of families during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program is now accepting applications. Twin Cities Habitat is here to support you. Visit our Coronavirus Response page to learn more.