Habitat for Humanity Brant-Norfolk says it will have to rely on donations from the community in order to restart its affordable homes project after an alleged theft last week.
The non-profit reported the loss of “critical” tools for building homes after workers discovered the organization’s construction trailer had been broken into early last week.
The incident comes as the organization returned to work after a 12-week layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency says the tools were taken just days after crews returned to work last week under new health and safety protocols outlined by the province.
“It’s appalling and frustrating to me that a charity like ours had to shut down our build program for more than two months, and now has to deal with theft,” Dan Brooks, CEO of Habitat Brant-Norfolk, said in a release on the weekend.
Brooks said a generator was one of the key items taken from the trailer. The agency said the total value of the theft is not yet known.
The set back comes as Habitat was working on an active home renovation with a local partner as well as a single-family, three-bedroom house, which was to be presented in a virtual celebration to kickoff another fundraising campaign.
Brooks says the organization will now have to rely on public help to replace tools as revenues are tight since several revenue streams were “cut off” with the cancellation of fundraising events and the closing of ReStores which accept and resell new and used building supplies.
Both Simcoe and Brantford ReStores have since reopened in keeping with the province’s phase one restart plan announced in mid-May.
“We’ve been doing everything we can to serve, beyond trying to keep people safe, while still moving forward behind the scenes to get ready to build again, with less staff, less money, less time and more demands on our service because people desperately need safe shelter and a home they can afford to live in,” Brooks said.
The non-profit says nine local families will have to wait for the start of their home build this year.
Anyone or any organization wishing to make a donation can reach out to the Habitat office at 519-759-8600 x527 or by email.