March 27, 2024 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Partners with Nonprofit SBP and NORA to Break Ground on 39 Affordable Housing Units in Lower Ninth Ward

NEW ORLEANS — The Mayor’s Office of Housing Policy and Community Development (OCD) Director Tyra Johnson Brown today joined District E Councilmember Oliver Thomas, SBP New Orleans Executive Director Kenneth Morgan, Jr., SBP Chief Financial Officer Keith McCulloch, New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) Executive Director Brenda Breaux, BankPlus Executive Vice President and Louisiana President Jeff Ehlinger and Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) Chief of Multifamily Production Louis Russell to break ground on the $11.7 million affordable housing development known as St. Claude Gardens II. This project is slated to bring 39 new affordable housing units across 20 scattered lots throughout the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans beginning in June 2024.

"Since Hurricane Katrina, the Lower Ninth Ward has suffered from disinvestments," said Brown. "Today is another monumental step in revitalizing this area and championing affordable housing for the City of New Orleans. Affordable housing remains a top priority for the Cantrell Administration. This development will add 39 safe, affordable, resilient and energy-efficient housing units to the City’s portfolio thanks to our disaster resilience nonprofit partner, SBP (St. Bernard Project), and their relentless work that will greatly benefit the Lower Ninth Ward community."   

“A big thank you to everyone involved in this project," said Councilmember Thomas. "This is the kind of collaboration that not only makes a difference with affordable housing but can be effective with many of the other challenges that plague our city. This will provide a 39-unit scattered site to the market for working families in our community.  Projects like this are what made me run for office again so that we could be intentional and impactful for the citizens of New Orleans. As a native of this community, I hope that something like this can be replicated throughout the Lower Ninth Ward where plentiful opportunities exist. The St. Bernard Project and NORA are building upon a proud legacy in one of the neighborhoods that are critical to the city’s future.” 

“SBP is proud to partner with the City of New Orleans to build the St. Claude Gardens II housing developments in the Lower Ninth Ward Community,” said Morgan. “These inclusive housing units involve the efforts of several partners to realize a vision where under-resourced communities affected by Hurricane Katrina offer affordable, quality housing with supportive services where displaced survivors can live with dignity and thrive.”   

“At BankPlus, we understand the impact affordable housing has on helping communities to thrive, especially in New Orleans, and we are thrilled to deliver the necessary funding to make St. Claude Gardens II happen," said Ehlinger. "These structurally sound, resilient homes will improve the housing options in the Lower Ninth Ward for neighbors and help restore this vibrant community. We see this project as a symbol of our commitment to New Orleans and our neighbors here, and we can’t wait to see St. Claude Gardens II completed.” 

St. Claude Gardens II will be a 100 percent affordable housing development. Similar to the first phase of this development, all lots were acquired through a partnership with NORA. The $11.7 million development is funded through a combination of sources, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), HOME funding from the City of New Orleans, NHTF funding through LHC, traditional debt and other financial considerations. Legacy Construction is the project's general contractor just as they were in the Phase I development. 

“The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority is proud to have initiated the St. Claude Gardens Phase II project through discounted land for the development of affordable rental housing,” said Breaux. “This project will restore approximately 5 percent of NORA’s remaining properties in the Lower Ninth Ward to commerce and continue to fulfill our commitment to deliver high-quality affordable rental and homeownership options for current and future neighborhood residents. The 39 families that occupy these homes will soon be able to take advantage of the improved infrastructure, as well as educational and recreational opportunities, that the neighborhood offers. At the same time, these new households will continue to build the customer base for new and expanded Lower Ninth Ward business opportunities.” 

St. Claude Gardens aims to foster a resilient and inclusive community, with a sharp focus on equitable, safe, sustainable and affordable housing options for residents. SBP will provide wrap-around services, which will be tailored to meet the diverse needs of the residents occupying this development. A Resident Service Coordinator employed by SBP will serve residents as an educator, community builder, resident liaison and service facilitator to help them acclimate and feel at home. 

Since partnering with Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), SBP has ensured that every roof and new build is FORTIFIED rated. FORTIFIED is a voluntary roofing and construction program requiring certain building techniques, materials and practices to strengthen homes against weather conditions. All homes will be built with metal framing, solar power.   

"We know that storms and natural disasters will plague Louisiana in the future, so we must prepare and maintain our affordable housing livestock," said LHC Executive Director Marjorianna Willman. "Adopting the IBHS Fortified Certifications shows results that homes built up to certain standards and materials can protect a family's home. We hope other developers follow suit in this endeavor to protect the residents of Louisiana."  

Phase III of St. Claude Gardens is in pre-development and is expected to bring an additional 66 units to the area. This project is targeted to start construction in 2025.  


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