The Garcia Family Comes Home



On Friday, April 17, Maria Garcia closed on her new home. Hours later, her friends, family, and NOAHH staff and volunteers joined her at her brand new home in St. Roch to celebrate this milestone.

Her family and co-workers cheered as she accepted traditional gifts from NOAHH staff, including the symbolic key to her home from site leader Tyler White, who was the construction site leader for her house and worked alongside Garcia as she finished the 350 hours of sweat equity required by the NOAHH homeownership program. Garcia was helped in her sweat equity by her co-workers, who she said were only ever a phone call away when she needed to put hours in.

Sweat equity is volunteer work partner families perform in lieu of a down payment on their homes, and it is one of the centerpieces of the NOAHH homeownership program. It allows partner families to have a feeling of real ownership on a home they helped build, and it allows them to see the process of building–and to learn about how to work on a home. It also provides volunteers the opportunity to meet and interact with our partner families, helping them understand the value of their time and hard work.

Maria was born in New Orleans, but moved with her parents to Honduras when she was young. After Hurricane Katrina, she decided to move her family back to her birthplace so they could know the place she loved so much. Her journey with NOAHH has made her dream to make a permanent home of New Orleans a reality.