Preserving Communities

Izara and James Andrews bought their home in New Orleans East over 40 years ago. They raised their seven children there, and now they are helping to raise two of their grandchildren there. They have seen their community grow and change. In recent years, the Andrews have seen many Habitat homes being built in their neighborhood: “We always say, ‘there’s another pretty house going up,’” Izara said. “It’s eye-catching. We had all rundown houses, and now there’s all these bright colored houses. It’s brightening up the neighborhood.”

Hurricane Katrina left their home almost unlivable and forced them to move into a single room. The Andrews love their quiet neighborhood and were determined to fix up their home. “We are so used to this street,” she said. “We would be lost in another area.”

For some of the projects, they needed a little help. One day, as James was walking down his street, he passed a Habitat build site. He met one of NOAHH’s staff who told him about the A Brush With Kindness home repair program: “They were down the street building a house,” Izara said. “A lady there talked to him. She told us to give Habitat a call, and we did.”

The Andrews were accepted into NOAHH’s home repair program. A Brush With Kindness helps homeowners whose homes are in need of work, with projects ranging from painting or fencing to roof and cabinet repairs. NOAHH fixed their driveway and floors and painted the exterior of their home. Volunteers from Leidos, a long-time partner of the affiliate, joined NOAHH at their home, meeting with the Andrews: “I took my grandson for basketball practice,” she said. “When I came back, there were 12 people there. They all shook our hands. They told us they were proud to do the work.”

In less than a month, the floors were restored, the driveway was fixed, and the home was painted, helping their family remain in the community they love.

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