GAF, a subsidiary of Standard Industries that makes things like shingles, underlayment and other roofing related products for homes and businesses, has committed to installing 500 roofs throughout the Gulf Region. That includes 150 roofs in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, an area that was hammered by both Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then Ida that hit on the same day 16 years later. The roofing effort is part of the company’s Community Matters programme started in 2020 that has already repaired or replaced 3,000 roofs.
New Orleans resident Larae Barard said she had just been talking with her mother about her concerns for her roof when she got the call saying her roof would be fixed.
“They said, ‘We want to fix your roof.’ I said, ’Really?! This must be a miracle,” she said. “After Ida, my roof was in terrible shape. It had a blue tarp on it for now almost a year and a month… So thank God I have a new roof.”
GAF is also training people in roofing skills through their GAF Roofing Academy. They teamed with Rebuilding Together New Orleans who is supplying the labour while GAF is supplying the materials and paying the costs. William Stoudt, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans, said the groups were specifically looking to help those who didn’t have the financial or physical wherewithal to repair their roof on their own – homeowners who were often elderly or disabled and were making less than US$35,000 a year.
“Who are the people that are going to struggle the most to come back? We’re talking about low-income homeowners. We’re talking about elderly, disabled, maybe veterans or single female family head of household. We’re talking about people who make New Orleans who it is,” Stoudt said.
The company and Mackie were in New Orleans recently to remove blue tarps on homes that had been damaged by Ida and replace the tarps with new roofs.