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Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS - Philip Jackson doesn't live in just any old home.

'It's been very sturdy during all the storms, no problems at all,' he said.

Jackson has lived in his Gentilly home for just over a year. It's one of more than 70 in the Greater New Orleans area built by a non-profit called 'Build Now.' The organization aims to build green homes that can withstand heavy winds and flooding.

Jackson said the home passed the test during Hurricane Isaac.

'There's no shaking of the building itself, there's no sign of a storm except for the rain,' he said.

Lessons learned in Katrina mean stricter building codes and sturdier homes, said Jaclyn Hill, executive director of Build Now.

'We're building higher. We're building stronger. We're building greener,' said Hill.

After Hurricane Katrina the state adopted a uniform building code for the first time. It requires that homes be sturdy enough to withstand 130 mile per hour winds. They must have impact resistant windows or shutters and meet new FEMA elevation standards.

'That's the benefit of going with new construction,' said Hill. 'I mean their might be a little bit of an increased cost, but there's going to be deferred maintenance.'

Aside from being built to new standards, homes like Jackson's have special features like pile foundations, in which buildings are attached to piles driven 35 feet.

But even more than making sure homes are ready to weather a storm, Build Now walks people through the process of buying helping those who may not traditionally qualify for home ownership.

'As far as they're concerned, as far as I was concerned, this was the first time I own a house,' said Jackson.

And Jackson said the peace of mind that comes with his home is priceless.

If you would like to find out more about owning a home through 'Build Now,' log onto www.buildnownola.com.

Officials with the organization say they're willing to build anywhere there is a need in Southeast Louisiana.

FEMA Reports nearly 59,000 Louisiana homes sustained some type of damage in Isaac. Almost 10,000 of them were in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish saw the most damage and St. John the Baptist Parish sustained the most severe destruction, followed by Plaquemines Parish.

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