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City of New Orleans Partners with Housing Agencies and Community Organizations to Prioritize Aggressive Housing Initiatives

NEW ORLEANS — The City of New Orleans this year has partnered with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) and Finance New Orleans (FNO), along with community organizations, to continue aggressively prioritizing initiatives to expand affordable housing opportunities. These partnerships include the use of local, state and federal dollars to increase the affordable housing portfolio in New Orleans communities and to assist residents that continue to face challenges during the ongoing pandemic.

“Since the start of my administration, affordable housing in the City has been a top priority,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Though we have faced many unprecedented challenges associated with addressing the affordable housing crisis in the City, we have also celebrated many wins, including bringing more affordable units online through new construction projects and others in the pipeline that were blighted since Katrina. Together, we have dedicated more than $54 million to affordable housing in New Orleans, creating over 2,000 units since 2018, while on track to add another 500 units to our portfolio by the end of 2022. The City of New Orleans remains committed to ensuring that all residents have access to much needed resources, and as Mayor, I will continue to leverage federal housing dollars to build sustainable and affordable homes in high opportunity areas of our city.”

The Mayor’s Office of Housing Policy and Community Development (OCD) joined other municipalities to participate in HUD’s House America program setting a goal to rapidly rehouse 2,000 unsheltered individuals and families and to create 1,000 affordable and supportive housing units between Sept. 20, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2022.  Through established partnerships, the City has rehoused 1,384 residents and households by allocating the COVID-19 Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act funding special allocation received from HUD. OCD expects to exceed the House America goal by the end of 2022, rehousing a grand total of 2,200 residents and households.

The City has also invested more than $6.8 million to bring 500 affordable housing units online, in addition to the 601 units currently in the pipeline awaiting closeout of construction, or in pre-development and contracting phases with expected completion dates in 2023 and 2024. In collaboration with HANO, five new housing developments were completed in the Tremé, Gentilly and New Orleans East communities, and the Authority continues to serve more than 18,000 families and 343 veterans through HUD programs.  In October, Mayor Cantrell signed Ordinance No. 28,862 to reallocate $24 million received from the U.S. Department of Treasury Emergency Rental Fund for gap dollars that will help finance affordable housing construction projects.

NORA spearheaded the rehabilitation of 170 existing vacant properties, bringing them back into commerce for housing opportunities in partnership with nine developers and provided $1.3 million to two development partners to bring 61 units online through the Affordable Rental Gap Financing Program. NORA is actively working with the City to create permanent affordable housing by repositioning vacant property as a part of the Redevelopment Framework.

The City has partnered with FNO on two PILOT/multifamily transactions that will assist in bringing 182 units online, valued at $50 million, with several projects currently in the pipeline. Although economic factors such as inflation, supply chain disruptions and insurance costs have slowed production, FNO continues to push deals toward closing and plans to launch the Green Mortgage program for homebuyers in 2023.

Establishing homeownership opportunities for families encourages building generational wealth. This year, OCD has allocated more than $13 million for down payment assistance programs that support first-time homebuyers. This follows the launch of incentive programs for teachers and education professionals to support recruitment and retention efforts.

In response to pandemic challenges that continue to plague residents, the City has distributed $71 million in rental and utility assistance to more than 17,000 households since March 2020 and allocated $1 million to secure transitional housing for residents living in the Oakmont apartments. The Cantrell Administration also partnered with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and First Circuit Civil Court to launch a nationally recognized and award-winning Eviction Diversion program to stabilize more than 500 households during the height of the pandemic. This program was the first in Louisiana to assist renters impacted.

OCD facilitates the development and preservation of quality housing and sustainable living environments for residents through strategic investments and partnerships with public, private, philanthropic, non-profit and resident stakeholders. Through effective leadership, these initiatives led by OCD aim to strengthen the New Orleans affordable housing portfolio. They will also aid in leveraging additional partnerships for the creation of largescale developments and improvement of standards to combat the housing crisis felt throughout the nation.

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