October 25, 2010
Rebuilding homes, Rebuilding hope
What do the numbers 252 and 637 have in common? The answer is found below.
Volunteers that come to New Orleans each year comment on the changes they see from one year to the next as they drive around the area.
As I drive around the area I notice there is a lot of construction going. People continue to rebuild homes post Katrina. Regardless of the neighborhood, building is happening which is a wonderful sight to see. There is also a good amount of commercial building going on as well. The work of rebuilding still has a long way to go.
Our office receives calls almost on a daily basis from people needing assistance. A couple of examples: I visited a home today about 85% complete. The family is out of funds. They had about 7 feet of water during Katrina, rebuilt their home and it burned down in a fire a little over two years ago. The contractor who started the work did not get very far. The owner and a friend have done a good deal of the work so far. There are three generations living in the house. Every bit of money they have is being put into the house. They have moved in. They are using temporary power from an outside pole. No HVAC, or abundance of electricity. But they don’t have to pay rent any longer.
Another home I visited yesterday was in the lower ninth ward about five blocks from the industrial canal. The surge of water that came through the area was over the roof of the house. The owner has lived in the house since he was five years old. My guess is he is in his forties but I am not good at judging ages. He is the only one left in his family. His father died after Katrina. The owner is living in a FEMA trailer on this property. His house remains gutted.
This office, along with several other agencies, is part of a 20 million dollar federal grant program from HUD. Half of the funds are to be used to rebuild people’s homes that still reside in FEMA housing. Our office is just beginning to work on the first project through this program. The house is on the west bank. The owner is a single woman who works for the VA in Baton Rouge. She purchased the house just prior to Katrina and had not moved in. She resides in a FEMA trailer on her property. Her trailer was one delivered early on since it has brand name markings on the sides. She has kept the trailer very clean.
The work continues, homeowners continue to call, volunteers continue to come and work with us. Thanks to those who have participated and those who may participate in the future. You are a blessing to the homeowners and this ministry.
Answer: As of September 21st, there were 252 FEMA trailer leases active in Orleans Parish. 637 is the total FEMA trailer leases in Louisiana and Mississippi.
135 Sauve Road
River Ridge, LA 70123
Phone 504-258-7306 Fax 504-739-7876
Five years worth
Total volunteer groups in five years: 497
Total number of volunteers: 6054
Total hours worked: 151,350
Dollar value added labor: $3,260,370.