Habitat for Humanity International Reduces Staff and Other Expenses in Face of COVID-19 Economic Impacts

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Monday, April 27th, 2020

Global housing nonprofit Habitat for Humanity International is taking several actions to cut expenses in reaction to short- and long-term financial forecasts and operational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 10% of staff at the organization will be laid off, and several others will have their work hours reduced. The action will immediately impact its U.S.-based staff, and its regional offices throughout the world in the weeks to come. Among other expense reductions, senior leaders at the organization have elected to take a pay reduction.

“Habitat for Humanity is a ministry of people who share a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “For so many of our team, Habitat is not merely a job—it is a cause. It breaks our hearts to take these significant, but necessary, actions. We are compelled by the economic realities of this global pandemic, and by our responsibility to steward Habitat for Humanity so that we can resume serving our communities as quickly as is safe to do.”

Habitat for Humanity International is the umbrella organization of a federation of local and national Habitat programs operating in all 50 states and in more than 70 countries. Habitat for Humanity International brought in approximately US$300 million in revenue in fiscal year 2019, while the full network is estimated to have earned US$2.3 billion. The network served more than 7 million people last fiscal year, and has helped more than 29 million people access new or improved housing since its founding in 1976.

Habitat’s leadership team is taking the actions with the support of its board of directors, which met in March to discuss the situation.

Since the initial spread of the virus, Habitat has taken several proactive steps to suspend its operations to help prevent the transmission among its volunteers, staff and the people in the communities it serves. These measures have had immediate financial impacts for the organization. Global economic turbulence has also led the donor-funded nonprofit to significantly revise its revenue projections. Many of the local and national Habitat organizations—also facing significant funding shortfalls—have already made similar expense reductions.

Habitat has established a COVID-19 Critical Operations Fund to help safeguard its mission and business continuity efforts. The organization will also soon launch a fundraising campaign — Homes, Communities, Hope + You — which will help the full Habitat network raise support to continue its service.