Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

We Just Call It Home_ Project Homecoming March Field Report_ Sara Skjerli

To each of us the notion of home is different. Some of us are forever searching for what makes us comfortable, a place where we can let down the walls we surround ourselves with and the barriers we put up each day. A place where we  feel comfortable, safe, and accepted.

“And that’s a powerful notion. Because, despite 75 years of pop music and movies that would suggest otherwise, the most important 4-letter word in the English language is not love. It is home.” Chris Rose

Working for a rebuilding non profit I am privy to endeavoring directly with folks who have lived the heart break of not being able to return home, for whatever reason it may be. Whether it was by choice or by force one thing remains constant, everybody deserves to call a safe place home.

Recently I have been doing a lot of research for a new affordable rental program Project Homecoming is starting up this year. With the price of housing on the rise, and commercial contractors and money hungry flippers contributing to the increase in the overall cost of living, there is no better time than the present to roll out some safe, affordable, historic, storm resistant housing units for low to mid income families. My role in this new program is to help identify potential rental units in designated historic districts throughout the city! There are three target areas that we are focusing on, a National Tax Zone, a State tax Zone, and the Claiborne Corridor which is composed of nine neighborhoods (Seventh Ward, Treme-Lafitte, Iberville, Tulane-Gravier, CBD, B.W. Cooper, Central City, Broadmoore, and Milan).


A map of the Claiborne Corridor

One of the hardest and most heartbreaking aspects of this project is visiting the blighted properties we have identified and seeing the actual damage.


Homes like the one pictured above have been ransacked and destroyed by looters and continue to sit vacant. It is no easy feat to track down these homeowners, many of whom have passed away, moved on, or are holding onto the hope that one day they will be able to rebuild.

If you, or anybody you know has a piece of (blighted) property that they would like to donate, gift, or sell please consider contacting Project Homecoming.

On a lighter note, Center for Car Donations has welcomed Project Homecoming as a new partner to donate your old vehicle to! Plains, trains, boats, and automobiles are all welcome! If anyone has an old, unwanted, vehicle of any kind that they want to get rid of (and use as a tax write off) please consider donating to Project Homecoming! The Center for Car Donations will come and pick up the vehicle anywhere in the country!

I look forward to updating y’all on the progress we continue to make and the impact we continue to have in the revitalization of the beautiful and vibrant city i am blessed to call home.





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