St. Bernard Project

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The St. Bernard Project is a non-profit organization established in March 2006 to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina within St. Bernard Parish, located in Southeast Louisiana. It was originally founded by Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney. As of March 2013, the St. Bernard Project and its volunteers have rebuilt over 479 homes.[1]

Founding Date: March 2006

Type: 501(c)3 non-profit rebuilding organization

Headquarters: St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans


The St. Bernard Project focuses on rebuilding the homes of over 1500 families and residents who still occupy FEMA trailers or other federal housing. To do this, the project uses an "Under One Roof" model, incorporating the many facets of a successful volunteer-based rebuilding program into one entity. The project recruits volunteers, trains them, provides skilled site managers, provides health services, and even coordinates fundraising to run it all. The project has three distinct programs, all of which target the specific needs of different groups in the community.


The Rebuilding Program is a volunteer-driven program that evaluates the need of homeowners and then either supplies skilled labor to help them rebuild their homes, or, if the homeowner cannot afford them on their own, provides building materials paid for by donations. The Rebuilding Program can rebuild a home in 12 weeks, for around $15,000. So far, the program has rebuilt 354 houses.[2]

Opportunity Housing Program[edit]

The Affordable Rental/First Time Homeowners Program aims to provide housing options to senior and disabled residents of St. Bernard Project who face 50% increases in rental rates since hurricane Katrina.[3]

Veteran's Initiative[edit]

SBP’s veterans programs are focused on addressing three problems: high unemployment rate among men and women who have served our country; affordable housing crisis; and high instance of blighted and vacant properties in the New Orleans area. By hiring and training veterans in residential construction and paying them fair and livable wages and benefits, SBP can increase its workforce to rebuild homes and further transform blighted and vacant properties and neighborhoods.

The Good Work Good Pay Program utilizes a trained workforce to rebuild/build affordable homes and to stabilize blighted, vacant and disaster-impacted communities. These employees primarily complete electric, plumbing and carpentry work for our Rebuilding Program and Opportunity Housing Program thereby minimizing SBP’s need for subcontractors. By relying on a skilled in-house workforce instead of subcontractors SBP is able to complete projects faster and more affordably.

Center for Wellness and Mental Health[edit]

The Center for Wellness and Mental Health provides much needed mental health services to go along with the rebuilding and housing programs. The clinic opened in January 2009, and through a partnership with the LSU Psychiatry Department, treats patients in an office located in St. Bernard Parish.



St. Bernard Parish is the only county in US history to ever be completely destroyed by a natural disaster. Each house of the 27,000 from before Katrina was destroyed by the floodwaters that sat for weeks in the city. This disaster has left the residents of this traditionally working class community, whose assets were tied up for the most part in their physical houses, in a desperate situation. SBP aims to help low to medium income clients, focusing on the elderly, the disabled and families with small children. SBP's clients are those who could not improve their situations without the help of a charitable organization.


  • On the 27th of November 2008, Liz McCartney and the St. Bernard Project were recognized for its efforts in a ceremony by CNN, titled CNN Heroes, by carrying home the Hero of the year award.
  • On January 5, 2009 Liz and Zack were named Gambit's New Orleanians of the Year 2008.
  • On May 3, 2008, Senator Mary Landrieu presented Liz and Zack with the Heroes of the Storm Award.
  • Liz and Zack received the Manhattan Institute, Social Entrepreneurship Award in 2008.
  • In 2007, Liz and Zack made Gambit's 40 under 40 list of successful young New Orleanians.

[5] [6] [7] [8] [9]


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