In fall 2005, the Santa Barbara community came together to build a new house for a family affected by Hurricane Katrina. Over a two-month period, on a vacant lot on East Montecito Street, over 150 volunteers from Allen Construction, Habitat for Humanity, Crane Country Day School, and the community-at-large worked furiously to build this 960 sq. ft., two-bedroom, one-bath, Southern Creole–style home. The house was then disassembled, loaded into two semi-trucks, and donated to a family in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. A group of volunteers from Allen Construction traveled to Bay St. Louis to reassemble the house.
The family was selected due to their level of need as well as their involvement in the community. Gaynell Acker, a retired widow on a fixed income of $700 a month, was raising a grandson, who would be living in the house. Her daughter, Farren, a secretary for the City of Bay St. Louis, would also be living in the house with her two daughters. Both Gaynell’s and Farren’s homes had been completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and they had no insurance to rebuild them.