When you choose New Orleans for your last Spring break from college, the thinking is, “now that’s a party destination!” But for Sloan and Logan Colby Nunziato (both sales associates for Colby Properties Residential Real Estate in Lynnfield, Massachusetts) they won’t be partying hard, though they will be painting the town. They will be working hard, physical labor, in the hot muggy south as part of a small volunteer team from Babson College that opted to make a hands-on contribution to the post Katrina re-building efforts through the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH).
Their roles? Working on scaffolding, painting exteriors and adding curb appeal to homes on the Bon Jovi Boulevard neighborhood in Gray, LA. Though for Logan and Sloan, there have been no Bon Jovi sightings so far, the boulevard honors Jon Bon Jovi for his $1-million-dollar donation to the Oprah Winfrey Angel Network which funded the first 28 homes in the community.
This is the first time either of the sisters had picked up a paint brush outside of grade school art classes. But they know this skill will serve them well as will the knowledge about smart housing design and construction that they can apply to their real estate practice at Colby Properties.
NOAHH’s program allows future home owners to work towards owning their new homes in the form of “sweat equity” alongside volunteers. Once moved in, the hard work doesn’t stop, as residents must prove their commitment to making monthly mortgage payments on an interest-free loan. NOAHH works with each resident to make sure they are on track to full home ownership.
New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization affiliated with Habitat from Humanity International. Its mission is to “Build homes in partnership with sponsors, volunteers, communities, and homeowner families, whereby families are empowered to transform their own lives; and to eliminate substandard housing in the New Orleans area while serving as a catalyst to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action”. The devastations of Hurricane Katrina could have been minimized with smarter infrastructure, levee systems, and housing designs. Habitat for Humanity understands the important role affordable design plays in rebuilding from disaster and has built over 450 new, safe, and secure homes following Hurricane Katrina.