Brad Pitt has been partnering with Fort Peck, MT's Sioux and
Assiniboine nation tribes to build 20 super green homes for residents
whose income levels are at or below 60 percent the area's mean income,
with a percentage of the homes reserved for seniors and disabled
More Than Talented Pretty Face Celebrity
When Pitt isn't jet-setting to movie locations and being a father
of six, he's running a nonprofit, Make It Right.
His organization has been most notable for building 150 sustainable
homes in Louisiana's Lower Ninth Ward post-Hurricane Katrina.
"We hear stories from people who have nine families living in
a five bedroom home and take sleeping shifts' to share the
limited beds," writes Make It Right communications director Taylor
Royle. "Most homes are smaller, one or two bedrooms. We [met] a
woman who shares a two-bedroom home with her elderly mother and
her brother's familyshe and her three children sleep on the
floor in the living room."
Now, through a Low Income Housing Tax Credit Rent-to-Own program,
residents in his Make It Right homes will be able buy their new
green homes after 15 years of renting.
"These LEED Platinum, solar-powered homes will have three or
four bedrooms and two or three bathrooms each, and built with certified
Cradle-to-Cradle vendors, which means they're developed responsibly
and use reclaimed materials," reports NationSwell. "It's certainly
a big improvement from some of the current homes on the reservation,
which are rife with black mold and structural problems, resulting
in high utility bills due to inefficient design."
Using participatory democracy principles, Pitt's organization
organizers met with families and community leaders about their needs
and their vision for their new homes, and how the builders can preserve
the culture of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes, such as doorways
facing east or north and using tribally significant colors.
"We are enthusiastic about these home designs that reflect traditional
life ways while exemplifying deep green public-impact architecture,"
said Architecture for Humanity architect Nathaniel Corum.
Fort Peck, America's ninth-largest Native American reservation,
has over 6,000 tribe members living on the 2-million-acre reservation.
Over 600 people are waiting for housing. That means overcrowding
is all too common.
The Washington Post has reported that unemployment is over 50
percent on the reservations about three out of every four
children live in povertyand the cycle of abuse imposed on
the First Nation Peoples includes widespread problems with alcohol
and methamphetamines exist in the communities there.
Make it Right donors are giving people a safe place to live,
promote sustainable living and solar energy, and help those in need
of reconstruction after natural disaster. Some options of donation
are green gifts which include: solar panels, paint, native plants,
Energy Star appliances, and more.
Average energy bills have decreased for the homeowners because
of the green technology installed in the Make it Right homes. At
first, the homes were only available to people whose homes were
leveled from Hurricane Katrina but now, the green homes are accessible
to teachers and first responders.
Lower Nine residents are still eligible and but the program
is extending the offer of housing to others.
The foundation employs lawyers, social workers, and loan workers
to help the former residents of the Lower Ninth Ward whom many of
which lost all documentation during Hurricane Katrina to get through
the mortgage application process. The income of the applicants does
not affect the applicant's ability to obtain a home. The unsubsidized
mortgage is designed to be no more than one third of the applicant's
There have been problems with the New Orleans green homes, but
Pitt and his followers are doing more than just trying to do the
right thing. They have given hope where there was none. They are
doing what government could do, but is not.
While recognizing much more is needed aside from building green
homes to fix reservation's problems, Pitt and his organization members
are helping to "make it right."