WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation stepped in to help rehabilitate the Lower Ninth Ward.
- Affordable and environmentally friendly houses were provided to the residents at $150,000.
- After 2 decades, the foundation now faces an onslaught of complaints and the threat of a lawsuit over the degradation of those homes.
In 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina badly devastated the city of New Orleans, Make It Right, a nonprofit housing foundation founded by actor Brad Pitt, stepped in to help rehabilitate the badly damaged Lower Ninth Ward.
With the help of award-winning architects and support of other celebrities, construction of 150 Avante-Garde houses started in 2008. Affordably priced at $150,000, the storm-proof, solar-powered and environmentally friendly houses were provided to the residents who received resettlement financing, government grants and donations from the foundation itself.
But more than a decade and $26 million later, the foundation now faces an onslaught of complaints and the threat of a lawsuit filed by lawyer Ron Austin on behalf of the residents from more than 2 dozen of those homes.
Construction has stopped at around 40 houses while residents have reported a host of structural flaws such as sagging porches, leaky and damaged roofs, and mildewing walls. Health issues from mold contamination were also pointed out in the complaint.
“Essentially, Make It Right was making a lot of promises to come back and fix the homes they initially sold these people and have failed to do so,” Austin reported.
This is the latest of many other legal struggles to hit Make it Right. Rotting structures were reported in 2014 due to the use of TimberSIL, a glass-infused wood product known to be non-toxic, waterproof and durable.
Unfortunately, it was unable to combat the city’s moist climate. A $500,000 lawsuit filed by the foundation against TimberSIL followed suit but the settlement of the case remains unclear.
A year later, Pitt expressed satisfaction over the development of the project and told The Times-Picayne in 2015, “I get this swell of pride when I see this little oasis of color and the solar panels.”
Upset with the situation, resident Constance Fowler made the city hall aware of the many building code violations by the foundation’s builders. According to the New Orleans Advocate, Make It Right paid for the demolition of another moldering house in June.
As a response to the demolition and other residential problems reported by WDSU-TV, the foundation released a written statement: “Our homeowners’ well-being and privacy are some of our top priorities and we work closely with them to address their concerns.”
“Each situation is different and we are currently coordinating the necessary follow up with the appropriate parties to address any areas of concern.”
Despite the issues reported, residents were still appreciative of the foundation’s endeavors. Even Fowler herself said she might not have been able to afford a house without their efforts.
So far, comments from Make it Right have yet to be heard despite requests from WWL-TV.
Source: Fox News