Delta Air Lines and Habitat LA Welcome Home The Joseph Family

(above) The Joseph family cut the ribbon on their new home with Delta and the City of Los Angeles sponsors and Habitat LA staff.

“Home is the nicest word there is,” said Habitat LA President and CEO, Erin Rank, quoting the author Laura Ingalls Wilder, as she welcomed Tianna-Nichole Joseph and her four children to their new three-bedroom home in Los Angeles. “Today we celebrate that.”

The Joseph home is the ninth house built in partnership with Delta Air Lines in Southern California, and the third of five homes the airline has pledged to build in the City of Los Angeles by the end of 2020. It’s also the first Habitat LA home to feature an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), a 500-sq.-ft. one-bedroom residence often referred to as a granny flat.

Over the past two years, both the City and the County of Los Angeles have identified accessory dwelling units as important tools in addressing the lack of affordable housing in greater Los Angeles. “Half of Los Angeles is single-family homes,” said City Controller Ron Galperin, who was among dozens of staff, volunteers, donors, and community stakeholders in attendance at the February 20 dedication. “We see that as a way to use that existing land to create more affordable housing for everybody.”

Amanda Daflos, Director of the L.A. Mayor’s Innovation Team, said her office has been busy streamlining regulations and removing barriers to building more ADUs. The City has even created a handbook to encourage other homeowners to build ADUs on their existing land. “We can do the policy work,” said Daflos, “but we need and commend partners like Habitat LA and Delta for doing the construction.”

More than 500 volunteers from Delta participated in building the Joseph home and its ADU, both of which include drought-tolerant landscaping, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and the mechanisms necessary for conversion to solar heat. Since Delta’s partnership with Habitat LA began in 1995, the airline has donated more than $1.4 million; more than 2,500 Delta employees have volunteered more than 20,000 hours of service to build safe, decent, affordable housing throughout greater Los Angeles.

All those numbers are likely to increase in the wake of Delta’s Give Back initiative, which the airline announced on Valentine’s Day, 2019. Dana Debel, Delta’s Managing Director for Government Affairs, said the company would give every employee a paid day off every year to go and volunteer for a nonprofit.

Tianna and her sons with the keys to their new home.

Tianna and her sons with the keys to their new home.

Tianna-Nichole was nearly overwhelmed with emotion upon receiving the keys to her family’s new home. “I grew up 10 miles from here, and I work [as an eligibility worker for the County of Los Angeles] just five miles away,” she said. “I’m so happy that I’m able to stay in my own area.”

“When you put in your sweat equity, you see all the hard work that goes into building a house,” Joseph said.

To see more photos from the event, click here.