BENEFITING: Common Ground Relief
Calvin Duncan’s story is one that goes from despair to hope- but has not yet reached its happy ending. With your support, we can finally bring Calvin home.
In 1985, Calvin Duncan, from New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, was wrongly accused of murder and sentenced to life without parole in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. In 2003, the Innocence Project- New Orleans accepted his case and discovered documents which showed that the case against him was unfounded. In 2011, after serving nearly three decades in prison, Calvin was finally released. Now, he is studying to become a paralegal at Tulane University. To read his full story, please visit http://www.commongroundrelief.org/calvinduncan.
In his new-found freedom, at the age of 51, Calvin dreams of having a home of his own where he can be settled and secured, sit on his porch, and perhaps plant a small garden. His hopes were partly-realized in 2012 when a friend donated a 120 year old house to him that had been abandoned for 30 years and heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Calvin did not have the funds needed for the restoration, but this did not deter him; in fact, Calvin has been further motivated to renovate the house and provide part of it as a living space for another recently exonerated man, Nathan Brown. Nathan was released in June 2014 after the Innocence Project-New York helped him receive the DNA testing that proved he was innocent. During his 17 years in prison, Nathan suffered from Macular Degeneration which has left him legally blind. With Calvin’s mentor-ship, Nathan will be provided a secure, accessible home where he can smoothly transition back into society.
Calvin reached out to Common Ground Relief (CGR) to help with the renovations of his unihabitable home. CGR, a non-profit organization located in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, has helped thousands of people rebuild their lives after Hurricane Katrina; it has built and restored over 200 homes as well as provided job training and legal services for residents. As a grassroots volunteer organization, CGR can restore Calvin’s house for a very reasonable cost. To date, CGR has completed the exterior, installed energy-efficient windows and restored much of the original brickwork and cypress siding. Additionally, the interior framing package is on-site. CGR is also working alongside The Lighthouse for the Blind- New Orleans to make the necessary accommodations for Nathan within the home. To date, the value of this work- all provided through local workers and donations- is $130,000.
We are hoping to finish this project in time for Calvin to spend the winter holidays in his own home. The cost to complete the renovation is $60,000, which includes additional building materials and construction workers who cannot afford to fully donate their time, but want to be involved. To help finally bring Calvin home, we need your help to raise funds for this project. We ask you to consider a donation in any amount. All donations are tax-deductible will go directly to the restoration of the home.