The COVID-19 pandemic has caused fear, anxiety and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty across the globe; however, it has also shown us the best that humanity has to offer. Countless businesses, individuals, non-profit organizations and government entities have come together to help those in need, providing financial support, food services, and material goods to lift people up during this difficult time. The self-storage industry is no exception! Take a look at the creative ways facilities across the country have provided storage solutions for people as they navigate this crisis:
1.) Business Owners
While retail stores have been given the go ahead to reopen, closures and restrictions have impacted operations across the country. As such, many stores are choosing to downsize or close their doors entirely for a season as they determine how to remain profitable. Storage facilities have provided small to medium sized businesses with the opportunity to keep excess inventory, manage shipping and receiving, and store belongings as they figure out their next steps. Best of all, in most instances, the monthly cost of rent may qualify as a tax write off, since it serves as a necessary expense.
2.) Non-Profit Organizations
With unemployment figures expected to skyrocket above 20%, food pantries and school districts have provided millions of families with meals. In “‘Never Seen Anything Like It’: Cars Line Up for Miles at Food Banks” the New York Times reported that, “Demand for food assistance is rising at an extraordinary rate, just as the nation’s food banks are being struck by shortages of both donated food and volunteer workers.” Though millions are flooding a charitable system that was never designed or intended to handle a nationwide pandemic, millions more have stepped up to help. One food pantry we spoke to stated they were simply “overwhelmed by the generosity and thoughtfulness” of their community, and had taken to renting self storage for excess supplies.
3.) Medical Workers
In-patient and out-patient facilities have also taken to renting temporary storage to house their personal protective equipment and additional medical supplies, with donations coming in from all over the globe. One storage proprietor we had spoken with had never expected the hospital, less than a mile from his facility, to be in such need. “The doctors there know me. Most live close to the hospital, and when they moved here for residency or what not, kept their belongings here. I was truly honored to be able to help them now too. They’re working so hard.”
4.) Families in Transition
According to MSN, “The U.S. housing market started 2020 with a bang, including upticks in home prices and home sales. Then the coronavirus outbreak took hold in early March, leading to an economic slowdown, staggering job losses and uncertainty for millions of homebuyers and sellers across the country.” Though a decrease in mortgage rates would normally make it a favorable time to buy and sell—instability has led to a pause in real estate transactions. Because of this, self-storage facilities throughout the country have seen an increase in monthly rentals, as people search for an interim place to keep their belongings.
5.) College Students
Universities told students nationwide to head back from spring break, only to pack up and move back out—a real challenge for students that live far from campus. With travel bans implemented and social distancing measures in place, college students flooded to rent self storage units, some even renting them together. Facilities offered several months free and heavily discounted rates with agreements, providing students the opportunity to afford monthly rent while they await further instruction from their schools.
During this unprecedented time, people have stepped up to help others how they can with what they have. And, while self storage has fulfilled a need within communities, it is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the essential workers that have so selflessly served our country.
To the medical personnel, first responders, grocery store clerks, sanitation departments, school staff, food workers, delivery drivers, and more, you embody what it truly means to be American. In the words of late President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”