Organization provides teachers with new homes

NEW ORLEANS -- Biology teacher Ben Ifshin gives an 'A' to Youth Rebuilding New Orleans after they finished the house he bought from them.

"I can call New Orleans home, and it feels very permanent," he said.

Ifshin helped build his own house because Youth Rebuilding New Orleans' mission is to restore homes to sell to teachers.

"What stuck is just how much work it takes to go from a home that has been abandoned and blighted to a home that is beautiful, like this one is now," Ifshin said.

But last year there was a major setback, as $5,000 worth of tools were stolen from the site.

"Shocked," said Youth Rebuilding New Orleans Executive Director William Stoudt. "You open it up, and you see what used to be a full trailer is empty, and then there's just a little bit of disgust."

Organizers were stunned when people from across the country sent replacements after the first Action Report.

"Well, I mean it was really incredible," said Jack Stycynski.

Since 2010, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans has sold 11 homes, and this is one of four more under construction.

"Just this month, we have received about 10 applications," Stoudt said.

Youth Rebuilding New Orleans organizers say it costs about $80,000 dollars to fully renovate the average house, so they face two major challenges -- getting enough volunteers and donations for the materials.

"A $25 donation could actually support 10 volunteers, and those 10 volunteers could in turn create labor that saves about $1,000 for our organization," Stoudt said.

Ifshin said he is one of many teachers shopping for a house.

"More than half of the teachers I work with are looking to buy a home or looking for help," he said.

To donate to Youth Rebuilding New Orleans, call 504-264-3344 or visit their website at


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