The 107 homeowners in the program will each be eligible to receive $25,000 as reimbursement “for the repairs they’ve already had to make on their faulty properties.”
After attorney’s fees are paid, the rest of the funds will "be divided up according to the problems that are present in each of the avant-garde structures, which have been beleaguered by leaks, rot, and other defects."
Global Green, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing environmental issues. will oversee the distribution of the settlement.
In a statement, Pitt addressed the settlement and hoped that all parties involved can move forward.
“I am incredibly grateful for Global Green’s willingness to step up and provide this important support for the Lower Ninth families. We collaborated in the early days post-Katrina and we are very fortunate to have Global Green’s generous continuing commitment to help address the challenges around these homes and others in need,” his statement read. “Hopefully this agreement will allow everyone to look ahead to other opportunities to continue to strengthen this proud community in the future.”
Pitt established Make It Right in 2007, which raised millions of dollars to build energy-efficient homes for Katrina survivors in New Orleans. The construction of these homes costs around $26.8 million, or about $250,000 per home and was sold to former residents of the area for an average of $150,000.
Almost immediately, residents began complaining about serious issues, including “leaks that caused rot, structural damage, and mold, as well as faulty heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, electrical malfunctions, and bad plumbing.” Two of the homes were torn down within a decade after being built because of the rotting material. Other properties have since been boarded up.
In 2018, the homeowners sued Pitt and his foundation for allegedly building homes of poor quality and failing to fix multiple problems since they first occupied the properties.
The Make It Right Foundation has acknowledged the problems with its properties on two previous occasions by filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the lumber used to build the homes in 2015 for $500,000. The two parties would later settle out of court.
Also in 2018, the foundation sued its own managing architect, John C. Williams, “accusing him of being responsible for the millions of dollars in design defects.” Last year, Make It Right sued several former officials in its organization accusing them of mismanaging the project.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas causing over 1,800 fatalities, leaving 600,000 people homeless, and an estimated $125 billion in damage.