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Re-opening the doors to Habitat for Humanity's ReStores

Habitat continues mission to help local families with unsuitable living conditions

June 17, 2020  5 minute read

With so many people spending more time at home during the ongoing pandemic, the issue of safe and affordable housing has never been more timely. Islanders will be glad to know Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North has been able to re-open the doors of both of their busy ReStores.

Customers will notice a few changes. “We’ve updated all our policies and procedures to be in full compliance with all guidelines and regulations from provincial health authorities and WorkSafeBC,” said Cady Corman, Marketing and Communications Manager for Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North. 

Both locations shut down in March when the pandemic was announced to ensure the health and safety of their staff, customers, and volunteers.

“It did impact us greatly because we missed out on over two months of revenue and that does hurt,” said Corman. The non-profit coped by opening an online ReStore in early May and offering contactless pick up. The successful new platform will remain an ongoing option for online shoppers.  

That’s not the only way the organization adapted. Habitat was just on the verge of providing homes for two Campbell River families when the pandemic hit. They were able to get both families safely moved in, but had to get creative to mark the occasion. 

In a virtual key ceremony, the Habitat team and community members like Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams, MP Rachel Blaney, and MLA Claire Trevena shared video clips with the home owners, who also offered their thanks for their new homes.  “The ceremony felt really important to us during COVID-19. We were all physically distanced from each other but we found a way to feel connected,” said Corman. 

The pandemic has made living in poor conditions even tougher for potential Habitat homeowners, so the organization is moving ahead with five more homes. “We’re doing what we’ve always been doing, but COVID-19 has reaffirmed our focus on how important safe and affordable housing is,” Corman noted. The two ReStores cover all of Habitat’s operating costs, so 100% of cash donations and profits go directly to the building programs. 

To expand their storage capacity, the organization recently bought two 20-foot sea can containers through Coastal Community’s Building Healthier Communities Fund. We’re proud to support local non-profits like Habitat for Humanity which work every day to build more inclusive, supportive and safe communities. 



Community volunteers working at one of Habitat’s ReStores

Photo Credit: John Bonner