CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) -This week, Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam Counties restarted its construction program after more than a year of being shut down because of COVID-19. Bill “Tiny” Hanshaw is the Construction Supervisor for Habitat for Humanity. Recently, the group hosted the first Build Day using external volunteers since the pandemic started.

“It was a lot of fun. There was a lot of joy seeing people give back like they like to,” Hanshaw said. “I think the group had a wonderful time. I had a wonderful time with them. It was good seeing work get done again on a house.”

Eight new volunteers from LabCorp joined Habitat representatives at Habitat’s Charleston site to begin work on a new house.

“We weren’t able to host external volunteers, individuals or groups and so that really cut down on our primary mission which is home building,” said new Executive Director Andrew Blackwood. “Getting back on track with volunteers to help us build houses will let us move more home buyers than we have been recently.”

In a typical year, they’re able to build up to six homes. During the pandemic, they only completed two. Despite the higher cost of materials and some post pandemic fundraising challenges, those involved are optimistic that 2021 will be better. They are also hoping they’ll be able to help more families realize their dreams of affordable home ownership.

Leaders at Habitat are also encouraging people to visit their local ReStore locations to help generate funding for the work they do.