Families forced out of their homes by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita probably felt there were walls standing in the way of a return their normalcy. They faced mounds of paperwork, months without jobs and challenges in finding a place to live.
“I think families just kind of give up hope,” says Habitat for Humanity Executive Director David Hatch. “They don't think anything good is going to happen.”
Now Habitat wants to build homes for those families who took refuge in St. Joseph County after the hurricanes and decided to stay here.
Habitat International will fund the construction of houses for four families problem is...they can't be found. “We had originally gone to agencies that worked with these families and unfortunately there's not been a lot of contact since then. It's been a year and a half,” Hatch explains. “My concern is that there are families that have decided to stay in our county and they've given up any chance of owning their own home. I'd like to get the word out to families like that or people who know families who've decided to stay here.”
To qualify families need to have experienced significant loss. They should have a government assigned FEMA ID number and they must be willing to partner with habitat in building the house. Habitat hopes to start construction on homes for these families as soon as this summer. If you're someone who has worked with families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita and you know to contact those families in St. Joseph County, get their information to Habitat for Humanity at (574) 288-6967.