Habitat Houses Land in New Orleans for Permanent Stay

House frames that were built along the Mississippi River for the past several weeks arrived at the Port of New Orleans on Friday.

Volunteers in St. Paul, Minn., St. Louis, Mo., and Memphis, Tenn. spent days, some without sleep, to gather the efforts of the American people in helping the Katrina victims. The river project is part of Habitat for Humanity's Operation Home Delivery, which was developed after Hurricane Katrina destroyed thousands of homes in the Gulf Coast.

During the barge trip down the Mississippi River, some houses were unloaded in Baton Rouge, La., with the rest delivered to the hard-hit New Orleans area. The houses are now under construction for completion to serve as permanent homes for families in the affected areas.

Operation Home Delivery began on Sept. 26 at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York where raised funds of millions of dollars were projected to produce at least 100 homes in the next months.

From the nation's capital, 51 homes were built in eight days mid-November with hundreds of volunteers representing the effort and compassion of the entire country.

Habitat for Humanity assured long term assistance and rebuilding that will continue for years in the Gulf Coast states where the cost is estimated at billions of dollars.

The source of funding, however, has yet to be determined as state and federal legislators have mixed opinions on the matter. Some question too much federal government support for the massive reconstruction effort. Already, $62 billion has been committed to the Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction effort, with one-third of that spent so far, and there is concern over a rise in federal deficit.

"There needs to be a vision at the federal level – a vision for what the city of New Orleans is going to look like and what's going to happen to the 600,000 households that have been displaced," said Matt Fellowes, a senior research associate at the Brookings Institution, according to The Associated Press.