Volunteer Update

After much preparation, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity is excited to announce that we will begin a phased approach to allowing interested volunteers to return to service. Our number one priority is the safety of all those involved, so we are implementing strict safety measures and an incremental approach to bringing our dedicated volunteers back on board. Staff members have been effectively testing safety procedures in our ReStores and on our build sites in preparation for volunteers’ return, however we ask for patience and compliance from those who are eager to get back to generously serving our community. The need for safe, affordable housing has only been amplified by this pandemic and we’re immensely grateful to all of those individuals who’ve already shown interest in getting back to work. 

As we begin to phase volunteers back into roles throughout the organization, required safety procedures will include the mandatory use of masks, a limit on the number of volunteers per site, daily wellness checks, and social distancing practices. In this initial phase of returning, those who are of high-risk for severe illness, as outlined by the CDC, will not be permitted to return to work. This includes volunteers 65 or older, as well as minors. We know this will affect a large portion of our dedicated volunteers and assure you that we will be frequently revisiting this policy so that those of you who fall into this category can resume service as soon as we feel it’s safe to do so.

With guidance from leadership and other essential businesses, we’ve enacted the safety procedures necessary to begin bringing volunteers back to our Wauwatosa ReStore. Currently, it is the only one of our three locations that is operable. Greenfield and Walker’s Point ReStore staff are now filling the roles that would otherwise be held by volunteers, in addition to new roles dedicated to safety and curbside pickup. As we’re able to fill those volunteer roles in Wauwatosa, we’ll be able to return staff to their normal locations and begin duplicating the safety measures that allowed us to open our Wauwatosa store. There may also be opportunities to help prepare our closed ReStores for reopening. If you’re eager to help and are not at high-risk, we would love to have your assistance, even if on a temporary basis! If you’re interested in volunteering (immediately or temporarily) at a ReStore please contact Nichali at nciaccio@milwaukeerestore.org

Our  Deconstruction Services and property remodeling teams are also gearing up to start again in the upcoming days. 

Construction staff are currently enacting plans to begin allowing key volunteers and homeowners to return to work as soon as early June. The required safety procedures, as outlined above, will necessitate limiting contact as well as the number of individuals on a build site at a time. Compliance to the safety measures, along with an overall decline in new COVID-19 cases in the community, will determine our ability to bring more volunteers on board throughout the summer. We’ll be reaching out to our key volunteers over the next few weeks to talk about availability and interest in returning. Onboarding of new construction volunteers is postponed until July. Questions about construction opportunities can be addressed to Beth Van Gorp at bvangorp@milwaukeehabitat.org

As we become more comfortable with safety procedures, we hope to resume group volunteering following the 4th of July holiday. The number of groups per day and the size of the groups will be limited in order to build safely. Compliance to the safety measures, along with an overall decline in new COVID-19 cases in the community, will determine our ability to bring volunteer groups back throughout the build season. No action is needed if you are currently on the list to receive group volunteer dates. New groups for both the ReStore and construction can express interest via our website at https://milwaukeehabitat.org/volunteer/volunteer-now/.  Priority scheduling will be offered to our partners based on their sponsorship level.