On America Street, a budding community has been created, helping Amy and Joseph Washington find a home fit for their family.
Amy and Joseph currently live in a one-bedroom apartment. While this may satisfy a couple, these two needed a larger house to share with their new baby, Joseph Washington II. About a year ago, they applied for the Habitat program, and now they are a few sweat equity hours away from owneing a home on America Street in New Orleans East, one of ten dedicated on Saturday, June 25.
The Washingtons are excited to complete their hours not only for to move into their home, but also because volunteering with NOAHH has allowed the couple to learn about construction and reach out to the community. Given all the construction skills they have acquired, Joseph and Amy now attempt construction projects around their current home. Last week, Joseph repaired a hole in their closet, which had been there since they began renting the apartment in early 2015.
“My husband and I think we are construction workers now,” said Amy.
Joseph hadn’t installed drywall before. He hadn’t attempted many of the projects that he accomplished through his volunteer hours with NOAHH before. Braced with his newfound construction skills, Joseph decided that he would fix the hole in his closet. If it weren’t for the skills that Joseph and Amy acquired at NOAHH, this hole may have never been fixed.
Joseph and Amy’s appreciation for the homeownership program goes beyond even their recently acquired skills, however.
“I have loved Habitat,” Amy said. “We met a lot of new people and reached out to the community.”
Through working on homes, Amy and Joseph have been able to meet community members, including core volunteers, AmeriCorps personnel, and fellow partner families.
At the dedication, Amy and Joseph were able to meet many more partner families. Their home in New Orleans East is situated among a host of other NOAHH homes. Within the neighborhood there are around 50 homes built by NOAHH. Their single block on America Street will include seven other Habitat homes, all of which were dedicated on Saturday, June 25, a little over a year after ten other homes in the area were dedicated during the 2015 Habitat AmeriCorps Build-A-Thon.
Amy and Joseph’s home is situated in a great community for their family. Twenty-three children will live within this block of America Street alone, all in NOAHH homes. These families will move in the coming weeks, establishing a thriving neighborhood where Joseph II and other children will find new friends. This child-friendly street is only fitting since the desire to have a larger home for their son is what prompted the Washington’s decision to apply for a NOAHH home.
Through NOAHH, Joseph and Amy were able to find a thriving community for their son amongst a group of other partner families. On the same block, many of the children are of similar ages, and friendships were already forming during the dedication. Kids played games of turtle toss, got their faces painted, and met many of their neighbors as the DinosAurchestra (featuring future NOAHH homeowner Reid Poole) performed trad jazz and Grilling Schilling provided food and drink at opposite ends of the block.
The other families whose homes were dedicated are Stephanie Bruer, Kim Gonzales, Meagan Jordan, the King family, Rose LaFrance, the Oliney family, Denise Price, Cecille Weathersby, and Clarice Woods. They say they hope to revitalize the playground a few blocks down so their children have a safer place to stay.