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State of Louisiana Awards $2.4 Million for Construction Lending Program in New Orleans

July 13, 2011

BATON ROUGE, La. — The state Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit has awarded $2,367,300 to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority to establish a construction lending program that will create single family model homes in the Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods neighborhoods, as well as single family, for-sale housing in other Housing Opportunity Zone neighborhoods.

The project is part of the Local Government Infrastructure Program, designed to assist local governments with unmet infrastructure needs, and is funded with Community Development Block Grant funds allocated to Louisiana by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Blight is still a major obstacle to recovery in New Orleans,” said OCD-DRU Interim Executive Director Pat Forbes. “This project will stimulate new housing development, getting vacant properties back into commerce and restoring property values throughout the affected neighborhoods.”

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “By investing millions of dollars in Pontchartrain Park, Gentilly Woods, and other neighborhoods that experienced significant storm damage, this project is another example of how we are rebuilding our neighborhoods block by block and creating real opportunities for homeowners to contribute to the overall revitalization and growth of New Orleans."

“NORA is pleased to join with the state in announcing the availability of construction loan funds,” said Joyce Wilkerson, NORA executive director. “This is another critical component of homeownership funding and will go a long way towards stabilizing neighborhoods in New Orleans.”

NORA will use $1,250,000 to provide construction loan financing to non-profit developers for construction of new, single family model in homes in the Pontchartrain Park and Gentilly Woods neighborhoods. The funding will subsidize the construction of three model homes in Gentilly Woods and six model homes in Pontchartrain Park, serving to encourage pre-sales and provide leverage for additional funding of a larger, related project through private and public sources.

Another $900,000 will be used for the construction of single family, for-sale housing in the Housing Opportunity Zone neighborhoods defined within the Unified New Orleans Plan. The model homes will eventually be sold for occupancy as purchasers’ primary residence. The homes will be constructed by both for profit and non-profit developers on Louisiana Land Trust properties.

In total, Louisiana has dedicated $169.9 million in CDBG funding to the Local Government Infrastructure Program. In New Orleans, 14 local infrastructure projects have been approved for $91.3 million.

The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana’s citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state’s central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.