By Dan Koob

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The coronavirus outbreak has halted all aspects of life — even for those waiting for new homes through Habitat for Humanity. Now the organization that helps others is asking for yours.

“Everything has just ground to a halt given everything,” Habitat-Philadelphia CEO Corrine O’Connell said. “So it’s just how do we continue to move forward?”

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Scaffolding and fencing reveal tough truths in the time of the coronavirus.

Homes built by Habitat for Humanity are left unfinished.

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Families are in a holding pattern that O’Connell says leaves them in places that are inadequate to be quarantined in.

“There are 136,000 homes in Philly that people live in, but they’re falling down around them but can’t pay for repairs,” O’Connell said. “It’s hard to shelter in place if that place is not healthy. If that place is not dry. If that place is not safe.”

Their biggest project is a 20-home stretch on the 2300 block of Oxford Street in North Philadephia.

Last week, Habitat announced a fundraiser — “Home Together” — that’s already raised over $14,000.

Habitat says three homes are done but 17 more remain unfinished. Their hope is with this fund as soon as this pandemic ends, they can complete all 20 and move 20 families in.

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“It’s ours. We were in the back room of a crowded house at my mom’s so when we had the opportunity to join the program it was an awesome experience,” Shetima Roach said.

Roach is one of the first to earn her new home.


She says she put in 350 hours of sweat equity working with the program, building other homes before her son Zekhi and his Sunday slippers moved in in January.

“I’m looking forward to the whole neighborhood coming up,” Roach said. “I’m looking forward to my son making new friends.”

Three units were ready to be finished in early April.

Now, with construction halted, O’Connell is hoping to pick back up where Habitat started as soon as it can.

“Here’s an opportunity for us as a city, region, and country, to step forward,” O’Connell said. “Everyone deserves a decent place to live.”

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