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Valerie Bartholomew loves the sun. Living in a raised home while using a wheelchair made it impossible to go outside on her own. Thanks to the help of Habitat’s home repair team and funding from the Dallas Federal Home Loan Bank, and Fidelity Bank, Valerie can now get in and out when she needs to, using a motorized lift that gives her greater independence than a ramp.

“I am able to go outside if I have to,” she said as she showed off her new lift. “It’s not too often where I do have to go out, but if I want to, I know I can. That’s the biggest hurdle.”

This year, the program received a major boost in the form of almost $1.7 million in funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for implementation of its Healthy Homes Program to be used in addressing environmental health and safety issues through home repairs.

This will address critical housing issues to which the elderly and children are most vulnerable through interventions including mold removal, fall prevention, pest management, and weatherization. The effects of these repairs to the community will be profound with long-term improvements to neighborhood safety, home values, community wellness, and school performance via an increase in metal health and a decrease in truancy and emergency room visits resulting from improved living conditions. Other major supporters of the program have included United Way, who provided $10,000 in repair funding, and the Jefferson Parish Community Development Block Grant, who provided $200,000 in funding.

In the wake of Hurricane Ida, tornados, flooding, and other local disasters, New Orleans Habitat has seen an influx of disaster relief projects, and our home repair team has risen to the challenge, completing dozens of home repair projects in the last quarter of the fiscal year, helping homeowners like Bartholomew remain in the homes they had owned for decades. New Orleans Habitat celebrated our 300th home repair project since our program began in 2012.

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