Thank You from New Orleans Habitat

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On a windy day in early November, Sheldonna Durosseau and her daughter Aviona arrived at their new home as staff and volunteers gathered to join them in celebrating their home dedication ceremony. Her words to the gathered crowd are words of gratitude. In the crowd are people who helped to build her home and the people who guided her through the program, and volunteers who worked on homes for other partner families, but her gratitude extends to everyone who helped make her home possible.

Sheldonna works as a housekeeper and has done so for a dozen years. As a single parent with a low income, she says she never dreamed she could one day be a homeowner. Her parents had been homeowners, however, so she knew what benefits came with it–comfort, security, freedom. She turned to NOAHH to help complete her dream, and not long after, she and her daughter were moving into their new home.

The process to become a homeowner starts with a phone call. NOAHH has a homeowner hotline [(504) 609-3340] for interested New Orleanians to call and leave a message, and a dedicated staff member returns every call. On this return call, our staff walks the prospective homeowner through what they will need for their first meeting, called an intake, with a Family Services Case Manager. From there, the partner family begins a thorough process guided by their case manager that includes an application process, committee approval, and finally, sweat equity (helping to build homes and work in our ReStore) and homeownership classes. Though the process takes months, the outcome of owning one’s own home is of immeasurable value.

Not only will Sheldonna’s home bring her the comfort of decent housing, the security of knowing she is not subject to the whims of a landlord, and the freedom to do with her home what she wants, it also contributes to the well being of the entire neighborhood. Crime and blight reduction often follow increased homeownership in a neighborhood. The hard work that partner families put into owning their homes is a reflection of the commitment they have to their neighborhoods, and their presence brings positive rewards because of it.

Your contributions are what made all of this possible. Without your volunteer hours or donations, the homeownership program would not function. We rely on your hard work to make the homes affordable, and your financial contributions pay for the materials that build it (92% of all contributions go directly to the homeownership program). We would like to take a moment to extend our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our mission, in volunteer hours, donated money or materials for our ReStore, in advocacy and other forms of support. To the thousands who have contributed to the fight against poverty housing in the New Orleans area, we extend our deepest gratitude. Your generosity and hard work has made Sheldonna’s home and so much more possible this year.