Aitkin County Habitat for Humanity received $5,000 from Thrivent. Thrivent’s donation will allow Habitat to provide mortgage relief to Habitat homeowners who need temporary assistance making their mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this support, up to seven families can be helped with mortgage assistance.

Prior to the spread of the novel coronavirus, more than 18 million households across the United States were paying half or more of their income on a place to live. As the pandemic continues to cause job disruption and economic fallout, many households are enduring lay-offs, unemployment and pay cuts. This wage loss has amplified the financial burden on households to maintain essential payments and can result in families having to trade-off between bills, mortgage, or medical care.

“With Aitkin County being one of the poorest counties in the state, many of our families have already struggled with low wages and layoffs. The pandemic has just magnified it,” said Ann Schwartz, executive director of Aitkin County Habitat for Humanity.

About 100 Habitat affiliates across the United States received a total of $750,000 from Thrivent to help families remain in their homes.

“This year has been incredibly difficult for many people as financial hardship has added stress and anxiety to daily lives,” said Nikki Sorum, senior vice president of Thrivent Advisors. “This pandemic has underscored how important it is for people to have safe, affordable homes. Given all we have endured in 2020, we are especially honored to provide financial support to Habitat for Humanity to help people stay in their homes so they can continue to build toward financial stability.”

Aitkin County Habitat also received a Thrivent grant in the fall of 2019 and hosted the Nail and Nosh event to recruit volunteers, show generosity, practice building skills and draw attention to affordable housing needs.

CHAPS PROGRAM ASSISTANCE

In another program, Aitkin County Habitat for Humanity administered the Covid-19 Housing Assistance Program, along with Habitat MN and other state housing support agencies. With this program, about $40,000 was brought into Aitkin County to pay mortgage payments, property insurance, electricity, heat and garbage bills for local homeowners. The program is closed now. Habitat for Humanity also got a grant for its time spent administering the program.

YEAR-END REVIEW

A year-end review shows that Aitkin County Habitat for Humanity raised about $61,000 in grants and donations in 2020, despite the pandemic. “Our donors are more generous than ever, and we are incredibly grateful,” said Schwartz. “Through administering these programs, we have spoken to many hurting families, some of whom have never had to ask for help before and others living in fear of eviction. Please help in any way that you are able to during these trying times. Aitkin County Habitat for Humanity’s annual report will be available soon. If you would like a copy, email aitkinhabitat@gmail.com or call 218-927-5656 to request your copy.”

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