has, since its founding, made stewardship of rural lands and waters a key
component of its programmatic activity. The organization’s long history of work
with fisher families and sugar cane farm families, helping them to transition
to more sustainable farming and harvesting methods, are only two examples of
- Economic Development projects create millions in impact within stressed rural communities. SMHA knows that economic development is more than attracting
"big box stores” or giving tax incentives to multinational companies. The
organization is committed to economic development from the ground up. Its staff
works with families and communities to make their neighborhoods investment
worthy; places where people want to live, raise their families, and places
where businesses want to operate and grow.
- SMHA’s work in affordable housing began in the 1970s. From
its beginnings in farmworker self-help housing and owner-occupied
rehabilitation in farmworker communities in Vermilion and St. Mary Parish,
SMHA’s work has grown to include new home construction, first-time
homeownership, and mortgage lending with reach throughout much of the state of
- Louisiana’s traditional family fishers are one of our
state’s treasures, giving the state’s working coastline a distinctive multicultural
flavor. SMHA believes that this treasure will be lost without innovative approaches
to making small-boated fisher businesses sustainable for future
generations. As traditional family
fishers are lost, so too are the historical stewards of the coast. SMHA is committed to making sure this
important segment of the Gulf Coast fishery is not just preserved, but will
thrive for generations to come.
- Developing community leadership and the capacity to make
change happen are hallmarks of SMHA’s self-help approach to building strong,
healthy and prosperous rural communities. In rural Louisiana, the communities
most in need of investment are almost without exception African-American communities
suffering from decades of deliberate disinvestment. These communities can only
become stronger as its resident leadership, especially female leadership,
- Protect environmental
assets, agriculture and land of rural communities.
- Foster economic development in stressed communities.
- Develop rural housing and provide homeowner assistance.
- Assist fisher families and work to protect their livelihoods.
by working with women and people of color.
Click here to Help!
SMHA needs your help to make a difference!
- Helen Vinton - Most Interesting People
Sister Helen was featured in the latest issue of LifeStyle.
- Redevelopment of West End
SMHA is partnering with the City of New Iberia to rehab homes.
- Founders to Future Listening Tour