HUD No. 07-081
June 6, 2007
HUD SECRETARY, MAYOR OPEN NEW HOMES IN NINTH WARD
More than 500 new units to be redeveloped in area Katrina hit hardest; another 82 units ready in downtown
NEW ORLEANS - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson joined Mayor Ray Nagin today to announce the rebirth of public housing in the city's Ninth Ward, which endured the worst of Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago. Jackson and Nagin made the announcement at the New Desire public housing community, where they opened the first of more than 500 new public housing, mixed-income rental housing and homeownership units that will be constructed at the site.
"I want to thank those who are working cooperatively with vision and dedication to bring affordable housing back to this devastated ward," said Jackson to the families who will be moving back into the new housing. "To the families standing here, I say welcome home. Your neighbors should be joining you shortly."
When Katrina struck, it severely damaged or destroyed the redevelopment that was already underway at the old Desire housing development in the city's Upper Ninth Ward. Katrina destroyed 107 units, including the ones Jackson announced would be rebuilt today. In October 2006, Michael's Development began rebuilding these units and expects to be completed by year's end.
The plan for New Desire includes a total 425 new affordable housing units in three new mixed-income communities - Abundance Square and Treasure Village, where Jackson made the announcement today, and Savoy Place. The new communities will have both public housing and affordable rental housing units. In future phases of development, there will also be 100 single-family affordable homes for sale. The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) was awarded a HUD HOPE VI grant to revitalize the 78 buildings that sat on the 98 acres and create a mixed-income community.
Jackson said it is this kind of mixed-income neighborhood he envisions for all of New Orleans, including other complexes that are slated for redevelopment. HANO announced last year it would replace the city's older public housing units at Lafitte, St. Bernard, C.J. Peete and B.W. Cooper with new housing and neighborhoods that encourage a brighter future for families.
"We believe public housing residents deserve something better than what they had - new homes and a future in a socially and economically integrated environment where their children can play safely and families can thrive," he said.
Jackson also toured 82 new affordable mixed-income rental units at the Guste public housing community near the city's downtown. Fifty-six of these units are ready for occupancy. This redevelopment began prior to Hurricane Katrina as part of HUD's massive redevelopment of New Orleans' older public housing developments when the federal agency assumed control of HANO in February 2002.
HANO is also in the process of reoccupying 228 family units in the Guste low-rise
complex. Of these units, about 115 have been reoccupied by residents who were displaced by the Katrina. HANO is in the process of contacting former residents about returning to the remaining approximately 100 units.
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.