HUD No. 07-165
November 6, 2007
RESIDENTS RECEIVE WARM WELCOME AT NEW GUSTE PUBLIC HOUSING COMMUNITY
NEW ORLEANS -Thanksgiving came early for three Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) families today when they were welcomed to their new townhomes at the newly constructed Guste Homes and were presented with gift baskets stuffed with a turkey and all the trimmings.
"These three families, as well as the thousands of public housing residents who had to leave their homes two years ago have endured a lot, but they have survived," said C. Donald Babers, HANO board chairman. "For all HANO residents who have persevered despite everything, HUD is committed to bringing everyone back to new housing that you can be proud of, like these homes at Guste."
Karen Cato-Turner, HANO's HUD-appointed Recovery Administrator, joined Babers in presenting a basket to 86-year-old Mary Gracin. Gracin, a native of New Orleans, was one of the first occupants in the original Guste Homes built in 1964. The presentation today was a culmination of her dream to move into a new home.
Joining Gracin in the moving in ceremony were James and Brittany Thornton, the parents of four children, and Keywana Reaux and her family. They are among the first of 31 families to move into the new 82 homes.
All three families evacuated prior to Hurricane Katrina and received relocation assistance from HANO to come back to New Orleans. They returned home three months after the storm and moved back into their old units. Guste Homes was among only a few of the city's public housing communities that suffered minimal damage from the storm.
Guste was among the five public housing communities HANO had slated for revitalization prior to Hurricane Katrina. When HUD took over HANO in 2002, it had begun planning for the redevelopment of Guste, Desire (Abundance Square and Treasure Village), Florida, and Fischer and St. Thomas (River Garden) - the two HOPE VI communities that were already being redeveloped as part of HUD's overall strategy to improve the supply of low-income and affordable housing in New Orleans.
With the Guste high-rise senior community renovation completed, the first phase of redevelopment at the Guste low-rise community had begun in the summer of 2004 with the demolition of 237 units. The hurricane interrupted construction which had begun in 2005. Construction resumed about three months after Katrina and all 82 units are now complete. Nearly half of the units are occupied by families who lived in the old development. The Guste Resident Management Corporation, which manages the Guste properties including Guste Senior Homes, expects all the units will be occupied by the end of this year.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, HANO had planned to demolish the remaining units at the Guste site to begin Phase 2. Since the storm, however, HANO has selected contractors to renovate the old units for families who have relocated outside of the city and want to return.
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.