Common Ground Relief's mission is to provide short term relief for victims of hurricane disasters in the Gulf Coast region, and long term support in rebuilding the communities affected in the New Orleans area.
We are a community-initiated volunteer organization offering assistance, mutual aid and support. This work gives hope to communities by working with them, providing for their immediate needs and emphasizes people working together to rebuild their lives in sustainable ways.
Common Ground Relief rose out of the immediate crisis created by Hurricane Katrina when tens of thousands of residents lost their homes, their possessions and their way of life. In the Lower Ninth Ward where approximately 14,000 people lived and 4,800 homes were located, this devastation represented the loss of a community where over 54% of the residents had lived at 25 years and roots in the neighborhood had resulted in the highest percentage of African American home ownership of any city in the United States. The loss of these homes represented the disappearance of a family’s major asset, economic livelihood and, as a result, their future.
Through Common Ground Relief, we have provided a vehicle for nearly 35,000 people of all ages and backgrounds to volunteer in the recovery of the area. We have gutted over 3,000 homes, provided for the basic needs of thousands of New Orleans residents and founded a, now independent, health clinic and women’s shelter. We meet the residents who need help in rebuilding their flood damaged homes and offer assistance for new construction at our Anita Roddick Advocacy Center. The Center also houses our free Legal Clinic, staffed with a Louisiana licensed attorney, we continue to provide legal services that now encompass wrongful demolition, succession documentation, mortgage application assistance, contractor fraud and most types of civil litigation. We also assist in all matters regarding the Road Home Program.
We conduct soil testing, build raised garden beds for residents, organized a local garden club and provide gardening advice throughout the community. Our Wetlands Restoration program strives to rebuild the destroyed buffer of wetlands of coastal Louisiana and create awareness of its historic importance to local residents. We have established a tree farm to grow hardwood trees and grasses for wetlands plantings and landscape plants for the yards of returning residents, and have partnered with the Restore the Earth Foundation, Inc. to restore oil ravaged areas along the Gulf Coast through the Gulf Saver Bag Program.
Finally, our Job Training program, in partnership with Robert Wolfe Construction, Inc. is teaching construction skills to residents and at risk youth. This salaried program provides gainful employment and training that will lead to successful careers for the participants.
With your support, Common Ground Relief will continue to provide grassroots, environmentally aware and politically conscious assistance to this recovering community and allow us to help this important area not only survive, but thrive.
Thank you for your generous support.