10th Year Anniversary: Letter From Bill Stallworth

In celebration of our tenth anniversary, Architecture for Humanity is embarking on a fundraising campaign to support our chapters, grow the Open Architecture Network and bring critical design services to more communities in need. With your support, we can harness the power of the last ten years to make an even greater impact in the next ten years. Join us.

Donate $10 a month and help us bring good design to communities in need for another 10 years.

We’ve gathered a growing collection of letters from some of the many individuals and organizations who have helped give a voice to designing a more sustainable future. We will be featuring a new letter each month throughout the year.

Dear Architecture For Humanity,

In August of 2005, the Gulf Coast was struck by Hurricane Katrina, the largest natural disaster ever known to the United States. Two months before the storm, I was elected to the Biloxi City Council. Immediately after the storm, I formed what is now called the Hope Coordination Center to help the area known as East Biloxi. East Biloxi is the poorest section of Biloxi and was completely decimated by the storm. Three thousand homes were completely destroyed by the storm and the remaining homes were completely inundated by flood waters. These were horrible times.

However, as I have said many times, the storm was an opportunity for God to show his great mercy and bring about changes in the area that were sorely needed. East Biloxi received help from hundreds of organizations. Through what I call a divine appointment, I met Kate Stohr, cofounder of Architecture for Humanity. We found common ground and formed a partnership that has lasted to this day. Through Kate’s contacts, we were able to obtain a grant from Oprah’s Angel Network. The collaboration of these partners and others has facilitated the rebuilding of hundreds of homes in the area. As a part of the grant received from the Oprah’s Angel Network, Architecture for Humanity and the Hope Coordination Center were able to look at the many challenges that were facing us.

Architecture for Humanity rose to the occasion with the Biloxi Model Home Program. The program rebuilt seven new homes at various height elevations and investigated new building design techniques that would make homes stronger and more efficient. Architecture for Humanity also gave a small grant to the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio of Mississippi State
University to help create a design studio within our housing recovery center.

There was an organized optimism to this chaos that was unlike anything else we had seen in other hurricane-impacted areas. It was apparent that something special was in the works that was firmly based in the belief that East Biloxi could be rebuilt.Today, we have been able to rehabilitate more than 600 homes in the area with the help of our building and financial partners. Together we have produced a model for rebuilding after the storm that is now spreading across the Gulf Coast.

On behalf of everyone at the East Biloxi Coordination, Relief and Redevelopment Agency, we congratulate Architecture for Humanity on its 10th Anniversary, as they will continue to rise to the occasion and bring hope to affected communities around the world.

With Regards,

Bill Stallworth, East Biloxi Coordination, Relief and Redevelopment