(Miracle's lost home on Dauphine in the Holy Cross District of the Ninth Ward)
Two weeks ago I posted about the Joseph family who lost their Lower 9th Ward home for the second time. Kellie Joseph and her 6 children lost their home to Katrina. The rebuilding of their home was nearly complete when it was tragically destroyed by a fire after someone abandoned a stolen car in their backyard and lit it aflame to destroy evidence. The flames engulfed the home.
A group of Tulane medical students who heard of this devastating news decided to help the family rebuild again and started a website called Hope in Grace for what is called Project: Bring Miracle. Recently the students contacted me. The online donation effort has reached a standstill after some initial local media attention. It is their hope to reach a wider audience through the Internet.
Here is where we can help. We as individuals and bloggers can not rebuild the great city of New Orleans but perhaps we can help to rebuild the home of one family that has now fallen through the cracks. The family had invested their Road Home grant of $138,000 to rebuild their home. That is now lost. Unfortunately the maximum they can receive from their insurance to rebuild their home a second time is $12,000. At this point, after donations and insurance, $132,000 is needed to rebuild the Joseph's family home. Donations can be made online to a rebuilding fund specifically restricted for use only in reconstruction.
If you have a blog please consider blogging their story. Hundreds of thousands of people read blogs each day. If 13,200 of them gave just $10 each they could Bring the Joseph's home. We can make it happen.
Here is the Joseph's story from the website Hope in Grace:
On a fresh late-summer's afternoon of the 22nd of September, 2007, Miracle Lewis came down to New Orleans to see her newly restored room. Miracle's family was rebuilding the home after the house had been filled with ten feet of water and damaged by a massive tree. After being forced out by the storm to Port Allen, LA, and on to Houston, TX, her family had made it a little closer to their goal of returning to their roots by finding temporary-stay housing in Baton Rouge. The gleeful approval in Miracle's eyes after seeing her room on this day, however, was truly a milestone on the soon-to-be-realized path of bringing the family back home.
Early the next morning, however, a cruel turn of events quickly devastated their dreams. Some time during those early morning hours someone had parked a stolen vehicle their backyard, removed the tires, and set the car on fire to presumably destroy any evidence linking the perpetrator to the vehicle. The resulting inferno engulfed the the home, and burned it entirely to the ground. A firefighter was quoted as saying that "the flames were seen from a mile away, that's how intense it was." Hours before, the house was 80 percent complete, and the electricity was scheduled to be turned on the coming Monday. All that remained now was ash.
Miracle, her mother Kellie, and six brothers and sisters have all called the historic Holy Cross neighborhood in New Orleans home for nearly ten years. Her mother had worked their way out of the St. Bernard Housing Project that the family had moved into following the loss of her husband in a motor cycle accident, to become a homeowner in this neighborhood. Determined to give her children the best possible options, she kept them out of trouble, in school and church-related activities, and close to home. After the storm, her children were having a hard time integrating into their new schools, and Kellie quickly realized the need to return her family to the place that defined their being, to New Orleans. This unsettling tragedy severely jeopardized this noble hope.
All is not lost, however. A concerned group of family, friends, and public officials are determined not to let this family's self-evident courage and determination to return to their home base to be irreparably devastated, and plea for you to help them realize their dream of bringing Miracle home.
After losing their home originally in Hurricane Katrina the Joseph family put $138,000 which they received from a Road Home grant towards rebuilding their home and life. This investment was tragically lost in the fire, and unfortunately the maximum they can receive from their insurance (after it would go to pay off the mortgage of the burned home) to rebuild their home a second time is a balance of $12,000. As a consequence, the Joseph family will not have the means to rebuild their house.
A rebuilding fund has been established by State Representative Charmaine Marchand at Capital One that is specifically restricted for use only in reconstruction.
I am told the children are losing hope that they will ever return home. Please consider making a donation.
Also there is a page where you can leave a much needed message of hope for the family-- LINK HERE.
And if you have a blog please consider posting these links...Let's help Bring Miracle and her family Home.
UPDATE: You can also mail a check if you can not or do do not want to give online.
Attn: Mail Teller
PO Box 60150
New Orleans, LA 70160-1050
UPDATE 10/14: There has been a tremendous response from many bloggers and via email the Tulane students at Hope in Grace report this has resulted in approximately $7600 in donations so far. Let's keep it going.