This time of year, coming home for the holidays is a seasonal highlight for many people. For others, keeping up and staying in their homes is a year-round hardship. That’s where Rebuilding Together can help.
Rebuilding Together believes everyone has the right to live in safe, healthy housing. Working with myriad national and local partners to help repair homes, revitalize communities, and rebuild lives, Rebuilding Together New Orleans has been making major differences for many local folks since 1988.
Recently, Rebuilding Together New Orleans won a $25,000 Hancock Whitney competitive grant to continue helping people age 60-plus, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and single heads of households with young children stay in the homes they’ve worked hard to have.
Hancock Whitney bankers recently presented a $25,000 competitive grant to Rebuilding Together New Orleans near the home of a New Orleans World War II veteran whose home Rebuilding Together New Orleans and Hancock Whitney volunteers helped refurbish in 2019.
The Hancock Whitney’s competitive grant initiative, now in its second year, is part of our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program. In 2019 Hancock Whitney gave a total of $200,000 in competitive grants to 16 eligible nonprofits across the Gulf South engaged in affordable housing construction and rehabilitation for low-to-moderate-income individuals, programs that support small businesses, and youth programs for low-to-moderate-income youth that provide job training, entrepreneurship training, and internship opportunities.
What the dollars will do
With the help of in-house experts, public and private resources, and teams of volunteers from every sector, Rebuilding Together New Orleans low-income individuals and families identify and mitigate safety issues affecting a home’s livability. Rebuilding Together checks and works to fix a full spectrum of home safety concerns, from basic structural stability and health hazards such as lead paint to accessibility for older or disabled residents.
We at Hancock Whitney are honored to have been one of Rebuilding Together New Orleans’ first financial and volunteer partners. It’s an ongoing relationship that’s helped keep communities strong for more than 31 years and reflects our mission of helping people achieve their dreams—in this case, the dream of having a safe place of their own where they and loved ones can come home every day of the year.
The Hancock Whitney competitive grant provides critical dollars to jumpstart Rebuilding Together New Orleans’ plans to improve the lives of 40 families dramatically in 2020, including bringing veterans back to houses they had to vacate after Hurricane Katrina and creating better access for people with disabilities.
Growing, giving, and doing
Requests for help from eligible applicants continue to grow, many from elderly veterans on fixed incomes. In fact, of the 38 houses Rebuilding Together New Orleans worked on in 2019, 12 were veteran households. While the organization partners with various veteran programs, most veteran referrals come from concerned family and friends.
Despite many in-kind services from local and national Rebuilding Together partners, the basic cost to fix or modify a home for safe living is growing, too, averaging about $20,000 for each house.
Rebuilding Together New Orleans is expanding to meet those needs, but they’re 100 percent reliant on partnerships with other organizations and on volunteers. The money they get is well-managed---Rebuilding Together rates five-stars nationally for its efficient handling of finances. Still, the more financial support and more people willing to roll up their sleeves mean the 500-plus people in the help pipeline at any given time can get the assistance they need sooner.
The greatest reward for that giving and doing is the gratitude in the eyes of the people who can come home and stay home in neighborhoods they’ve known for decades. That’s why we at Hancock Whitney are honored to join with Rebuilding Together to help make that dream come true for people in the communities we serve.