RESTORING A LEGEND
Tipitina’s is the house that Professor Longhair built. Now you can join Tipitina’s, United Way and others in helping to rebuild Fess' actual home in New Orleans! Find out how you can help.
Eight years have passed since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans in 2005,
yet hundreds of families are still living in temporary housing - doubled or tripled up in family
homes, living in gutted or partially complete homes, trailers or apartments they cannot afford..
United Way and our recovery and rebuilding partners are helping families put their
lives, homes and communities back together. NO Place Like Home (NPLH) is United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Rebuilding Initiative, coordinating the return of families to safe, secure, and functional housing through partnerships with local nonprofit organizations, donors, companies, groups and government entities.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina a significant number of groups began working to help in the recovery and rebuilding process. Most non-profit rebuilding agencies were faith-based, but others were humanitarian.
What these groups had in common were that they raised funds to cover the minimal costs of construction, used volunteers to perform much of the work, and selected clients based upon need. Some had full blown case management services and elaborate verification and documentation systems, while other were built more on trust and faith. Some developed in-house capacities as licensed general contractors and licensed specialists, such as electricians and plumbers. Others contracted for these professional services.
The United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s (UWSELA) initial involvement was to support the establishment of long term recovery committees (LTRC) in each of the parishes in our service area, and to facilitate case management activities to link clients with rebuilding organizations and multiple funding sources. UWSELA also financially supported, through its allocations process, several of the rebuild organizations. This was important since UW dollars were outcomes based and could be used by the agencies to support the management and supervision of the rebuilding activities.
Most of the national faith-based groups have moved on to other disasters. Some of these have returned in response to Hurricane Isaac in 2012. There are still local groups such as St. Bernard Project, Rebuilding Together New Orleans, Phoenix of New Orleans, Project Homecoming, The Epworth Project, and lowernine.org, maintaining a local continuing rebuilding mission in southeast Louisiana.
So we now have fewer groups and fewer houses needing rehabilitation, but those that remain are the more difficult and more expensive projects. This has not only forced us to reexamine our role and the rebuilding process, but also gave us the opportunity, under product development, to brand all of the UW housing work under the umbrella of NO Place Like Home.
Our focus is to continue to work with and support the non-profit rebuilding agencies by raising funds (from targeted donors including government and foundation grants, and corporate and celebrity donations) to support pre-identified clients who are not back in their houses. These are clients who were unable to secure sufficient funds from insurance, Road Home, and other sources to complete their houses, and/or who have been victims of contractor fraud, were forced to pay off mortgages with these proceeds, or who experienced other extraordinary events. Before initiating any rebuilding work, we verify the client’s vulnerability and their ability to sustain themselves once the rehabilitation work is completed.
When the NO Place Like Home Initiative was branded in 2011, UWSELA set a goal to have 2,013 families return to their homes by the end of 2013. Through our strategic grants process, our contributions to the LTRC funding roundtables and our work providing support to these committees, in partnership with our rebuilding partner organizations, by June 30, 2013, UWSELA had supported 2,000 families being able to return to their homes.
We won’t give up on a better future for our region. Your participation is crucial to our success. Join us. Please get involved. Right here...right now.