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New Habitat for Humanity Kanawha-Putnam director to pick up pieces from COVID-19 crisis

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The new leader of Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha-Putnam says he’s ready to tackle community challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha-Putnam Executive Director Dr. Andrew Blackwood

Dr. Andrew Blackwood’s first day on the job as executive director was Thursday. He said more people need their help now compared to last year at this time.

“We have an active pipeline of people moving through the home buying process, so we will be increasing the number of people we serve” Blackwood said.

One of the areas he plans to focus on is the delay in the home constriction process.

“We weren’t able to have as many people working on construction sites. A lot of suppliers have not been able to get materials,” he said.

Blackwood replaces Sean Means who was with the non-profit organization for the last three decades. Means announced his retirement in January.

“The priority for me is to continue to help develop a strong and stable community here in Kanawha and Putnam counties,” Blackwood said.

Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to provide affordable housing to the community. Blackwood said they are starting to return to normal operations.

“Both of our ReStore locations are open and accepting donations. Our volunteer construction crews are also working every day on construction projects,” he said.

The organization is also welcoming more volunteers to help work on the ground or at two their stores located in Charleston and in Taeys Valley.

Blackwood previously served as the longtime director of the National Youth Science Camp.

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