Habitat for Humanity volunteers resume construction in New Orleans for first time in 19 months

Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 12:25 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, volunteers can sign up to work on a Habitat for Humanity construction site in the city.

On Saturday (Oct. 2), Habitat hosted volunteers working on a construction site in the Lower 9th Ward at 1419 Jourdan Ave.

Core volunteers such as Andy Schroder say the need for affordable housing was huge for moderate- to low-income families even before. But the pandemic and more recently Hurricane Ida have exacerbated the problem.

“It set it back by however long it’s going to take to get Ida damage restored in the city,” said Schroder.

“So seeing volunteers finally start to come back is a big thing.”

Dennis Kehoe is a professor at Tulane. But he has also dedicated years of his life towards making dozens of affordable homes in areas like the 9th Ward.

“Decent affordable housing is a human right, not a privilege. And in the New Orleans area, Habitat for Humanity, we’ve built hundreds of houses since 1985,” said Kehoe.

“There are a lot of people who are on reasonable incomes but are ‘working poor,’ because they can’t possibly afford to buy a house in our area. And rental prices are, of course, really high.”

Those who get to live in these constructed homes are part of the organization’s program where they earn working hours known as “sweat equity,” which is applied toward their down payment. And with volunteers now signing up to take part in construction once again, costs can be reduced.

The next chances to swing a hammer for affordable home ownership are Nov. 5-6 and Dec. 3-4.

The Habitat ReStores, two retail locations that sell gently used appliances, furniture and construction materials, are seeking volunteers as well.

Visit www.noahhvolunteer.org to sign up or call (504) 861-2077.

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