Out of Deep Waters: Jericho Road expands from house building to community building

August 31, 2015

[Episcopal News Service – New Orleans, Louisiana] Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative grew out of the ruins on Hurricane Katrina and is going strong 10 years later, albeit with a bigger mission.

Eighty percent of the residents of Central City, the neighborhood behind Christ Church Cathedral, which faces the upscale Garden District, were renters when Katrina struck. Landlords received no government assistance to rebuild. “Low-income folks in this neighborhood didn’t have any homes to come back to,” said Holly Heine, Jericho Road’s director of operations and communications.

Executive Director Nicole Barnes said Jericho Road has realized that “you can’t just build houses; you have to build a community.”

That community building includes not only forming neighborhood associations that help residents get to know their neighbors and learn how to advocate for themselves, it involves reclaiming blighted properties and it also involves helping the many first-time homeowners develop the skills that will allow them to sustain their ownership for as long as they desire, Barnes explained.

“The arc of ministry has been amazing,” said the Very Rev. David du Plantier, Christ Church Cathedral’s dean.

This video is the fifth in a weeklong series of Episcopal News Service coverage. Other videos and stories are here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg and Matthew Davies are editor/reporters for the Episcopal News Service.