Lafayette Habitat for Humanity will celebrate the completion of its 94th home with a dedication ceremony on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:30PM. The new homeowner, Yoshonna Benoit, along with her six children, family, and members of the community who gave a helping hand, will be in attendance.
During the dedication ceremony, Ms. Benoit will be presented the keys to her new home that she along with other members of the community and volunteers helped build. Since beginning her partnership with Lafayette Habitat in 2009, Ms. Benoit has put in over 300 hours of “sweat equity” helping build other Habitat homes as well as her own and attending workshops on financial literacy and home maintenance.
To design and build Ms. Benoit’s home, Lafayette Habitat for Humanity partnered with the UL Lafayette School of Architecture and Design. Graduate architecture students designed and helped build her four bedroom home to both fit Habitat’s construction budget, and to provide a comfortable house for a family of seven. Ms. Benoit’s home is the second constructed as part of Lafayette Habitat’s ongoing partnership with the School of Architecture and Design, and graduate architecture students continue to work on designs for homes and an entire “pocket neighborhood” on which Habitat will be breaking ground this year in the McComb/Veazey neighborhood.
Ms. Benoit’s home, along with 5 others Habitat has recently completed in McComb/Veazey, was largely funded through a grant from the Louisiana Department of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD-DRU), with funds that were earmarked to increase affordable housing stock in communities impacted by the 2005 hurricanes. Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes said, “By partnering with Habitat for Humanity and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to build these affordable, single-family homes, Lafayette Parish is making a great investment in the recovery of this state. These projects are helping displaced families to return home to Louisiana.” The OCD-DRU grant was provided to Habitat through the Lafayette Consolidated Government Office of Community Development, which also donated the property on which the 6 houses have been built.
Ms. Benoit, a long-time employee of University Health Center, is very excited to be moving into her new home. She and her children were especially pleased with the students’ design for their home, which is uniquely suited to their needs. “This will be the beginning of a fresh start for my kids and me,” Benoit said. “I really appreciate what Habitat has done for us. It has been a long journey but it finally has come to an end. I am glad I got to work along with the volunteers and everyone else to be able to build our home.” Ms. Benoit will be purchasing her home from Lafayette Habitat with a no-interest mortgage, and her monthly payments will then be used to help build more homes with other local families in need.