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Person celebrating new house key.

Shantell Davis’s home is special. Like all Habitat homes, it means the security and stability and self-determination that affordable, decent homes provide. For Shantell, it means being able to better provide for her children. And for NOAHH, it represents the milestone of building 100 homes in New Orleans East.

On a breezy spring afternoon, Shantell and her family gathered with NOAHH staff and volunteers to celebrate her new home. Volunteers from longtime NOAHH partners InterVarsity New England, RHINO, and Purdue University were on site nearby and joined in the ceremony, helping to present traditional gifts of bread, flowers, wine, tools, a Bible, and keys to help Shantell start her life in a new neighborhood in her own home. She joins 32 other families on America Street, with several more homes under construction nearby (including one on her block). Her new home is more than a roof and four walls–it’s part of a growing community.

NOAHH began building in New Orleans East before Hurricane Katrina, but after the storm brought severe damage to the area, the affiliate built 87 homes in the Melia and Pines Village neighborhoods. While NOAHH builds many homes on lots in existing neighborhoods, when possible, we build in clusters in order to strengthen stronger communities and create new ones if none were there before.

On America Street, a once-blighted block is now home to eight families with dozens of children, while down the street, two dozen other homes have been built, and around it, nearly 70 more homes replaced storm damage and vacant lots. NOAHH has also completed 42 A Brush With Kindness repair projects, aiding existing residences by helping them preserve and maintain their homes, two Attack the Block neighborhood cleanup projects to address blight in the area, and most recently, helped with tornado relief efforts.

Building 100 homes means more than 100 families with stability and security in New Orleans East. It means new neighbors who have put down roots in the community. It means families who will be part of the community for generations. And it means new neighbors who are invested in their community. Shantell is joining 99 other homeowners (and more to come!) in a community that survived floods and hurricanes, and with your support and the hard work of our partner families, has revitalized.

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