The First Volunteers Back
Volunteer With Us
The sound of a dozen hammers swinging together to build a new Habitat home is a special kind of music that has been missed during the pandemic. Though the construction staff kept working, the magical cacophony was absent until spring 2021.
NCSY and Shirts Across America came to New Orleans to build, to give back, and to learn. Shirts Across America even participated in a special presentation of disaster relief education provided by State Farm in the wake of Hurricane Zeta. Though hurricanes rarely reach their home state of Washington, they were able to translate the advice into how to be ready for an earthquake with the help of their group leader Randy Novak.
“I was most excited about getting to interact with people here in New Orleans again,” said Noelle Leibly, a Shirts Across America student who volunteered in 2019. “I wanted to be here on the build site and help out. I missed being able to do that last year. Finally getting to come here after a year and be in this community again has been amazing.”
NCSY, a youth group out of New York who have partnered with NOAHH for over 15 years, were the first group back. Though the pandemic brought some changes, like vaccine and mask requirements, their return experience still had the same effect on the students:
“Over the years we have benefited from the dedicated staff at Habitat who have provided our teens with both meaningful work and an understanding of why this is so important,” said Ethan Katz, Director of Relief Missions at NCSY.
Why We Build
Affordable housing brings stability and better futures. Rent-burdened households make up 61% of New Orleans renters, meaning that more than a third—often more than a half— of their income goes to housing every month. NOAHH hears too often how, before they come to us, partner families have to choose between rent, food, or electricity. When the price of housing- -as a homeowner or a renter—goes down, families rarely have to make that choice. Many are able to save. Children with better access to food do better in schools, which turns into better opportunities later in life. Habitat homeowners often use their savings to go back to school, grow their families, or start their own businesses.
27% of children in Louisiana live in poverty.
18% of renter households with children report not having sufficient food.
$264,861 is the media home price in New Orleans.
Sources: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, WDSU, the Data Center, and the National Housing Conference.