U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez joined Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu today to announce that the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) and the city of New Orleans will receive $30.5 million to redevelop the distressed housing at the Iberville Housing Development and revitalize the Treme neighborhood.
New Orleans is one of just five cities nationwide to receive the first-ever Implementation Grants awarded under HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (Choice), a new strategic approach intended to help transform high-poverty, distressed neighborhoods into communities with healthy, affordable housing, safe streets, and access to quality educational opportunities. New Orleans joins Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle to receive a combined $122 million.
"We'll win the future only if we can ensure that people in every community--even those living in our most troubled neighborhoods--have access to the American Dream," said President Barack Obama. With HUD's Choice Neighborhoods grants, my Administration has brought local communities an innovative new tool to ensure that all families can access the quality affordable housing, safe streets, and good schools they need to compete in the 21st century economy.
"This is a great day for the housing authority, New Orleans and the countless families who will benefit from the transformation this funding will bring to the Treme community," said Henriquez. "Choice Neighborhoods recognizes that we must link affordable housing with quality schools, public transportation, good jobs and safe streets. This is the next generation of neighborhood revitalization that not only transforms distressed housing, but heals entire communities."
"We are proud that the Obama Administration chose New Orleans for this new initiative." said Landrieu. "The Treme community plays a vital role in the city's heritage and cultural identity. This grant provides us with an essential tool to transform lives and revitalize one of the greatest neighborhoods in the country."
"Working on the Iberville/Treme Choice Neighborhoods Initiatives application has been a moving experience for me," said HANO Administrative Receiver David Gilmore. "I can't imagine another city that deserves the grant more or will make better use of the benefits it will bring. I'm especially delighted at the opportunity this process has provided for HANO to reconnect with the city it serves and I'm proud of the partnerships we are forging with the administration, Iberville residents, the Recovery School District, the development teams, the community at large, and so many other great organizations. The future holds so many good things for us and the Choice grant will help us achieve them."
"We're moving beyond restoring buildings. We're restoring whole communities. Families need affordable housing and they also need neighborhoods with resources that support their growth--such as job training centers and child learning centers," said Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02). "With this Choice grant we can develop Iberville and Treme to be a community that helps folks fully access their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
"Choice Neighborhoods provides funds to improve the lives of children and families in our most distressed neighborhoods and we're pleased to see their work continue through these implementation grants," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which includes our Promise Neighborhoods program together with Choice and other initiatives, has created a cross agency effort that combats poverty by ensuring there are great schools and systems of support at the center of every community."
Though adjacent to the thriving French Quarter and Central Business District, the Treme neighborhood has a household poverty rate that tops 52 percent. To help revitalize the community and combat poverty, the Iberville/Treme Transformation Plan will target the Iberville public housing project's 821 distressed units. Built in 1940 as a superblock of 74 two- and three-story buildings, only 441 of these units are currently occupied. Fifty buildings will be replaced, and the remaining 24 will be reconfigured and restored. Once complete, the new development will boast 913 units, 304 of which will be public housing available to current Iberville development residents. The rmaining 609 units will be split evenly between market rate and low-income housing tax credits. Moreover, another 1,518 rental units will be built in the neighborhood, more than a third of which will be project-based public housing. Another 15 sites will become homeownership units.
In addition to rehabilitating and revitalizing housing, the Iberville/Treme Transformation Plan will implement a number of social and supportive services to help promote safer, better-educated community with the tools its residents need to achieve self-sufficiency. A partnership among HRI Properties, McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., Urban Strategies, Recovery School District, Workforce Investment Authority, Covenant Huose, Tulane Community Health Clinic, the New Orleans Police Department, and the Early Childhood & Family Learning Foundation, the Iberville/Treme Transformation Plan is projected to cost $662 million in total.
Choice Neighborhoods promotes a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Building on the successes of HUD's HOPE VI Program, Choice links housing improvements with a wide variety of public services and neighborhood improvements to create neighborhoods of opportunity.
New Orleans as well as the other four grantees have completed comprehensive local planning processes, and are now implementing plans to redevelop their neighborhoods. They had to demonstrate their ability to revitalize severely distressed public and/or assisted housing while bringing together the partnerships and resources to create high-quality public schools, outstanding education and early learning programs, public assets, public transportation, and improved access to jobs and well-functioning services.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a centerpiece of the Obama Administration's interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative--a collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Treasury, and Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools every family needs.
As a result of partnerships across those agencies, the Obama Administration has made it easier for local leaders using Choice Neighborhoods to redevelop their neighborhoods to also access support for cradle-to-career educational programs through the Education Department's Promise Neighborhoods, public safety strategies through the Justice Department, and community health center improvements through HHS.