A couple of years after the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and its surrounding areas, Brad Pitt visited the Lower 9th Ward.
The 9th Ward was hit the hardest and was also a poorer neighborhood. He was shocked at the lack of rebuilding and rehabilitating in the area and committed himself in helping rebuild the Lower 9th Ward. The nonprofit organization, Make It Right, is the product of this commitment.
The goal of Make It Right is to build quality homes for people in need. People who qualify for these homes are low-income families, disabled veterans, and seniors in Kansas City and Newark. In New Orleans, of the 150 homes being built, teachers, first responders, and people whose homes were in the Lower 9th Ward before Hurricane Katrina can move into the homes.
What sets Make It Right apart from other nonprofits that build homes for people in need are how they build the homes and the materials they use. Make It Right homes are constructed in the greenest manner possible. These homes are supposed “to change the building industry to make energy-efficient, healthy homes affordable for everyone,” says their website. They have made everything they can afford green and healthy from flooring to paint and from ENERGY STAR® appliances to solar panels on the roof.
Make It Right’s inspiration for their environmentally friendly design process comes from architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart. They came up with “Cradle to Cradle is a unique approach to design and science… and described in their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.” Cradle to Cradle is focused on renewable materials and products and making sure that what we use is healthy and safe.
This approach to design and architecture influences everything that goes into a Make It Right home. The solar panels providing power to all homes and buildings, the use of paint that has no volatile organic compounds which can be very harmful to people, and the use of materials such as flooring and cabinets that come from Cradle to Cradle certified manufacturers.
The 150 homes in New Orleans are still being built, as are the community and apartment complexes in Newark, New Jersey, and Kansas City, Missouri. As a nonprofit, they are always in need of donations and volunteers for jobs outside of building homes. Because the environmentally conscious effort that goes into these homes, specialists and professionals with green-construction experience are hired to build the actual homes.