Sunday, August 29, 2010

From the Inbox: 5 years after Katrina

Dear Friend,

Five years ago this weekend, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall and, combined, became one of the most destructive disasters in U.S. history, ravaging the Gulf Coast and forever changing the lives of thousands of American families.

Together with our partner-families, we are reflecting on the recovery efforts that have marked a critical chapter in our nation’s history—and in the history of Habitat for Humanity.

A presence throughout the Gulf Coast states for nearly 30 years, Habitat responded to this disaster quickly and pledged to stay for the long haul. And we are still there today.

In the first few weeks after the hurricanes, Habitat affiliates and volunteers across the country began building house frames to be delivered to the Gulf. Within six weeks, on-site construction began on the first Habitat hurricane-response house.

Since then, Habitat affiliates and their partners have built, rehabbed or repaired more than 2,200 houses in the hardest hit areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were a challenging natural disaster that exacerbated what was already an affordable housing crisis in all of these communities. Our mission to help families break free of poverty housing and build a brighter future for themselves proved resolute—in spite of the challenging conditions that pushed all of us to new limits.

And while there is still so much more to do, we’d like to share with you some of the recovery stories along the Gulf Coast and across the U.S. and the world that—thanks to supporters like you—many families have been able to create.

Please take a moment to meet just a few of the families and communities we’ve partnered with and hear their stories through a powerful collection of slide shows, video footage and personal stories.

  • We’re proud of the work that Habitat affiliates have accomplished during the past five years.

  • We’re thankful for the thousands of volunteers who have supported our efforts in the many different Gulf Coast communities.

  • And we’re grateful for the financial support of donors across the country who have helped make this work possible.

As always, your tax-deductible gift to Habitat for Humanity will help us continue our recovery work in the Gulf Coast, expand our global reach and partner with more families.

Our response work in the five-year wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has affirmed the importance of partnership—that when we work together, we can make a lasting difference hand-in-hand with families in urgent need of safe, decent housing.

Thank you for your generous support.


Jonathan Reckford
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity International

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Five years later

Carla Campo (in pink shirt) was born and raised in New Orleans, but after Katrina, her home suffered water damage, which led to serious health problems for her children. In March 2010, they celebrated their new Habitat home, built in partnership with East St. Tammany HFH.

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Before Katrina, all the Gulf Coast affiliates combined built about 57 houses per year.

Since Katrina, the Gulf Coast affiliates have built, repaired or rehabbed more than 400 homes a year.

Repairs of houses completed through grants of $4 million from Church World Services and $524,000 from Rebuilding Together.

Total number of Habitat houses built since 2005 as part of hurricane recovery.

Habitat volunteers removed debris and cleaned more than 2,500 homes in preparation for rehabbing.

Estimated number of volunteers who have helped rebuilding efforts in New Orleans alone.

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