February 10, 2023

Safety Funds Recipient: NOLA Habitat for Humanity

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Louisiana is an exceptional place to call home. Our state’s wealth of history, beauty, tradition, and natural resources make it a paradise like no other. However,  at times some of our fellow citizens need assistance from those with a sense of compassion, dedication, willingness to share their time and resources so they can enjoy these benefits. The New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) is an organization comprised entirely of such individuals.

Between their 65 dedicated employees and robust volunteer program, NOAHH has spent the past 40 years providing affordable housing to New Orleans area residents and pushing transformation via community-focused initiatives. To date, they have built over 770 homes and have completed 400 home repair projects.  

Jay Huffstatler, NOAHH Chief Administrative Officer, explains, “Our mission is to responsibly build communities where families can thrive in homes that they can afford.”

Among the major services that NOAHH uses to achieve its mission are its home buyer program, home repair program, two ReStore retail locations, and an intern apprenticeship program. While each of these initiatives has its own distinct approach, the end goal of each is clear: to support and uplift the New Orleans community.  

Preventing Injuries and Ergonomic Health Hazards

NOAHH is Louisiana Loyal through their work to elevate the state and community. They also possess an equal level of commitment to the safety and well-being of their staff. The organization's work is vitally important but can also be dangerous. That’s why they partner with LWCC for their workers’ compensation coverage and to negate the possibility of injury as their crews perform their jobs.  

When they heard about LWCC’s safety funds program that provided up to $2,500 to select recipients for safety improvements, NOAHH knew precisely where and how those funds could be used. Having recently acquired a large warehouse space, the organization needed new safety equipment to prevent hazards while using and navigating the space.  

“We have this new warehouse we just purchased, and we needed platform ladders to access items on taller parts of the racking. Those are much safer than extension ladders, and they allow our staff to access items much more easily,” said Jay.

In addition to their new ladders, NOAHH used their funds to purchase safety harnesses and hooks to prevent falls among their construction staff, as well as a standing desk which will provide a more ergonomic work environment for warehouse staff.

“It’s not always something people think about,” notes their LWCC Safety Consultant, Catherine Landry, “but if we’re working at a desk that doesn’t fit our height or body type, it’s going to lead to problems like back and shoulder tension, carpal tunnel syndrome, and lower back problems. So when we put in devices like ergonomic chairs or tables, we’re looking at the bigger picture of taking stress off of that person’s body and preventing a future injury.”

As one of Habitat for Humanity’s top 40 affiliates in the country, NOAHH plays a significant and vital role in supporting and uplifting underprivileged families. They have helped hundreds of Louisiana citizens secure safe, sound, and affordable housing and will continue to do so in the decades to come. As their work and team expand, so too will the need to provide a safe and secure working environment. These latest safety purchases represent just one of the many steps NOAHH has and will continue to take to ensure their team can make a lasting and positive impact on the state they love.  

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