LHC Partners with City of New Orleans for Vital Affordable Housing Projects

September 18, 2019

The city of New Orleans is moving forward with $28 million in vital affordable housing development projects with financing through the Louisiana Housing Corporation.

The projects, funded through a combination of federal grant dollars and affordable housing tax credits, will create 642 residences to help meet a critical need for workforce housing in New Orleans.

“Creating and sustaining affordable housing is an existential crisis that our city is facing,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says. “My administration and I have worked for months to foster this partnership with LHC to secure this funding for the city and that the funding would go toward impactful and sustainable housing initiatives.”

Tackling the Housing Shortage

Collaboration and creativity among public and private stakeholders is critical to meet the affordable housing gaps in economically booming regions of the state like New Orleans, where rents have climbed substantially.

The LHC — whose mission is to ensure that every resident of the state is granted an opportunity to obtain safe, affordable, energy-efficient housing and related services — is committed to supporting a range of affordable housing initiatives in the New Orleans region.

This latest round of projects is being funded through the LHC’s 2019 Piggyback Awards, which help create multifamily housing opportunities. These New Orleans developments received a total of $3.88 million in low-income housing tax credits and $24.5 million in Community Development Block Grant funding.

One of the projects underway is the redevelopment of the former Oretha Castle Haley Elementary School in the St. Roch neighborhood. The nonprofit Renaissance Property Group plans to convert the 97-year-old school into affordable housing units for people 55 and older.

“We are committed to leveraging the resources of all available partners to address our city’s affordable housing crisis by giving both our developers and residents the opportunities they need to build and find a home,” Cantrell says. “Through this funding from LHC, we will be able to increase the supply of new homes, preserve affordability and safeguard the quality and accessibility of our housing.”

More Funding Flexibility

The LHC also agreed to work with the city to address concerns about preliminary language in the draft 2019 Qualified Allocation Plan, the guide by which federal affordable housing tax credits are awarded. At the city’s request, the LHC included language to facilitate the use of mortgage revenue bonds, a critical financing tool, on a local level through a partnership between the city and the Finance Authority of New Orleans (FANO).

“We are encouraged that the [LHC] will continue to work with us in prioritizing resources, being flexible in guidelines, creating efficiencies and supporting partnerships with FANO and developers to create the affordable housing that New Orleans needs,” says Ellen Lee, the city's director of community and economic development.

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