Dear Future NOAHH Partner Family

In lieu of my usual letter, I wanted you to read this message from one of this year’s Habitat homeowners. “Tuba” Steve Glenn is an exceptional musician who came to our program through friends of his who already own Habitat homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. He wrote this letter as a message to future applicants, sharing his experiences in the program. What Steve writes here is an excellent example of what your support has made possible.” – Jim Pate, NOAHH Executive Director

The path ahead is not necessarily a short one, but it is perhaps one of the most enjoyable, exciting, and worthwhile things you will do in the next year; this much I can guarantee. Allow me to give you an idea of what lies ahead:

You will start your volunteer hours floating around the Habitat ReStore; moving couches; organizing resellable merchandise; pricing items; if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get to destroy a few things with a sledgehammer in order to break them down; meeting amazing and good people, staff and other volunteers who are working on their hours towards their own homes. A few weeks in, you’ll get to choose the lot where your house will be built. If you’re like me, perhaps this is where the dreaming begins… driving from lot to lot just imagining what the house you’ll help build will look like: What will the drive home from work be like? Which side of the back yard will the garden be? Shed? Color of the house?

Who is going to mow the lawn?

A few more hours in the ReStore will find you starting the “sweat” part of your equity, though admittedly for me not in the way expected. I’ll say it plainly: putting work in on other peoples’ houses is REWARDING and relatively easy work. It is an overwhelming feeling of pride to be on-site, learning new skills to help build a house. Hammer here, cut there, staple this, wrap that, what’s that type of nail called again? and is this siding or trim? or sheeting or board? or Hardie or wood? And just when you start to get a handle of things… IT’S TIME TO START YOUR HOUSE. Which, naturally, means you instantly forget everything you’ve learned thus far! Day 1 of the journey of building your own house starts with hammering a bunch of 2x4s together on a raised platform. In a matter of hours, those 2x4s become the first wall of your house. As you raise this wall, suddenly the whole process becomes real. Before you know it, you’ll have all of the exterior walls up. Suddenly, it’s not just some platform… this thing is becoming a house(!) Interior walls and roofing start to go up. Within a few weeks, you’re putting up siding, and painting what now looks like the near-completed shell of your future home. You may start to realize how much you’ve taken the little things for granted once you start installing windows and doors with locks. In short, the first few weeks of the building process is exhilarating as so much changes so fast and an empty lot quickly becomes a house on the rise—your future house.

This is a glimpse of what is to come down the road. It is a vision powered by a potent organization with a philanthropic mission, the hands of many, many volunteers and other future homeowners like yourself. As stated, it is not a necessarily short journey but beyond worthwhile, exciting and enjoyable. Enjoyable for us, as future homeowners assuredly, but also enjoyable for the many hands that will be engaged in that process for us as they get to see, meet and work with someone directly benefiting from their effort and work. With all of that said…

Thank you. Thank you for deciding to be a homeowner. Thank you for including NOAHH on your path in your journey to homeownership. Thank you for helping build our NOAHH community—hundreds strong and counting every day. It’s because of NOAHH that people like you and me are able to be future homeowners but it is similarly because of people like you and me that great organizations like NOAHH are needed. A beautiful relationship indeed… and certainly one that our fellow partner families and the staff and volunteers of the organization share a special appreciation for. Good luck!

-Steve Glenn
NOAHH Partner &
Sousaphone at Large