HUD No. 06-101
August 21, 2006
HUD SECRETARY OPENS NEW HOMES AT FISCHER, ANNOUNCES NEW ALLIANCE AS PART OF OVERALL EFFORT TO BRING PUBLIC HOUSING FAMILIES HOME
NEW ORLEANS - To mark the upcoming one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina ravaging New Orleans, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson recognized public housing resident Donna Davis at a grand opening of 20 new homes at the old Fischer public housing development in Algiers. Jackson also used this opportunity to announce HUD's overall efforts to bring New Orleans public housing families back home.
"Every family who wants to come home should have the opportunity to come back," said Jackson, at the opening with Mayor Ray Nagin and a collection of city officials. "HUD's goal is to bring families back to quality housing. I believe Miss Davis and other low-income families deserve better housing and a neighborhood where children can play without fear."
Davis and 18 other families recently moved from the old Fischer public housing development into 20 of the new homes that will replace the 41-year-old buildings along L.B. Landry Avenue. By the end of September, another 103 similar houses will be completed for other public housing residents who lived at the old Fischer. Jackson featured these units to illustrate what the future of public housing could be. He said HUD would work with the Mayor, the community and residents to build quality housing to create mixed-income communities, not the old public housing developments that simply warehouse people.
Jackson also announced HUD's approval of a joint public-private venture that will ensure that the nearly 900 families who once lived in Lafitte will have the opportunity to return to their neighborhood. The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), Providence Community Housing - the Catholic post-Katrina initiative - and Enterprise Community Partners have formed an alliance to plan the redevelopment of the Lafitte site and the surrounding Treme, Tulane and Gravier neighborhoods.
Standing with Jackson to announce the venture were Father Michael Jacques, chairman of the board of Providence, and F. Barton Harvey III, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Enterprise.
"I am excited about sitting down with the families of the Lafitte neighborhood to design and plan a healthy, diverse, vibrant community," said Father Michael.
"Enterprise looks forward to working with our partners and the residents of Lafitte and Treme to create a stronger community with affordable homes and better opportunities for the residents" said Harvey.
The Providence/Enterprise team, along with HANO, working with residents will plan mixed-income affordable housing, homeownership and services for the former families of Lafitte. Providence and its sponsors have been providing housing and social services to the city of New Orleans since 1727. Enterprise, formerly The Enterprise Foundation, is a 24-year-old, nationally known nonprofit organization known for its expertise in creating large-scale, mixed-income housing developments.
Jackson said with the redevelopment of Lafitte and also of C.J. Peete, B.W. Cooper and St. Bernard, there would be community and resident involvement at every step of the city's planning process. To guarantee resident input, Jackson announced that HUD has contributed $500,000 to the city's Neighborhoods Rebuilding Plan or charrette process, which is a community-driven effort to help guide the revitalization of the city's neighborhoods that address each community's priorities and plans.
Jackson was also pleased to announce that he had been informed that Michaels Development had completed its negotiations with its insurance providers and would restart construction at Desire at the end of the month. Located in the Upper Ninth Ward, Desire was in the process of being redeveloped using a HUD HOPE VI grant when Katrina hit. This delayed the plan to replace the 50-year-old development with public housing, affordable rental housing and homeownership units.
Jackson also said, in an effort to get more families who had to flee in the wake of Katrina back to the city, HANO is also working with Nagin and the City Council to put modular homes on HANO-owned properties or "scattered sites" throughout the city. He said this would ensure a quick return of residents where there are jobs and opportunity for them to help rebuild and recover neighborhoods.
Jackson also provided an update of where HANO was on repairing 1,000 units HUD promised in June to allow an additional 1,000 families to return to New Orleans. He said the count currently stands at 800, despite a set back at C.J. Peete, where hundreds of thousands of dollars of copper building materials were stolen. Jackson said former residents are being contacted and he is hopeful the HANO staff will deliver as many units as possible.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.