Once the mortgage and deed paperwork are signed, single mother Natasha Cormier and her two daughters will move into their new home, a two-story dwelling on Georgia Street where they’ll be able to breathe.
The newly built home will be a welcome change from their current place, which has old carpet that caused allergies.
The New Orleans-inspired house is the first two-story home that Lafayette Habitat for Humanity has built in Acadiana. It was constructed over eight months with the help of 400 volunteers.
“I am at a loss for words,” Cormier said, wiping tears from her eyes. “I am so overwhelmed, excited and it’s such a blessing. Words just can’t explain how good I feel. I’m very thankful — blessed.”
Koriana Landry, Cormier’s 15-year-old daughter, said, “It’s beautiful. It’s way better than the house we live in now, and it’s just beautiful.”
The materials used to build the three-bedroom, two-bath home were either donated to or purchased by Habitat for Humanity. The project was sponsored by the Lafayette Consolidated Government Department of Community Development. The house is sold to the family at cost. And the money the family pays goes back to Habitat to help build a home for another family.
The Cormier home was designed by five graduate architecture students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the fall 2013 semester. The young architects were inspired by the New Orleans camelback homes, their architecture professor, Geoff Gjertson, said.
Habitat Executive Director Melinda Taylor said the home’s design fits the shape of the narrow lot on which it was built.
Ten thousand volunteer hours were put into the house, mostly by students from colleges and universities in the Northeast: Syracuse University, Columbia University and Ohio State University among them. The universities together also donated about $20,000 to fund construction.
“We build the houses and design the houses to reflect the existing culture and style of the neighborhood, so you won’t get a very modern home in a neighborhood that’s very traditional,” said Samantha Stevens, community coordinator for Habitat.
Habitat is currently building three homes in Lafayette, with 12 more planned. Cormier’s new home is No. 12 in the McComb-Veazey neighborhood.
Stevens said the goal in the next five years is to build 25 new homes in Lafayette.