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Feb. 25, 2014

Blighted Nursing Home to Become Low-Income Housing

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

McCaleb Residences

Another Katrina-marred building might finally be returned to use, after developers of an efficiency apartment project received funding approval from the State Bond Commission, reports The New Orleans Advocate. The 40-unit project at 2535 Esplanade Ave. aims to redevelop the Katrina-marred former Bethany Home seniors housing property into efficiency apartments for the formerly homeless, disabled and working poor.

The $6.6 million project aims to create 20 units for low-income individuals and 20 for the formerly homeless, all of which would be 450 square feet in size. The project’s cost breaks down to $166,553 per unit, or $140 per square foot. Financing will be covered by $3.2 million in Katrina recovery funds, $2 million in low-income housing tax credits, an $834,000 loan and $500,000 in other funds.

The project is being developed by the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (GCHP) in partnership with New York-based nonprofit Common Ground and various charities. GCHP, a real estate development company, partners with non-profit, government and for-profit entities to build affordable housing serving low-earning and at-risk individuals and families.

GCHP has been involved in several New Orleans projects to date, such as the 43-unit McCaleb Residences on Clio Street, developed in partnership with the Progressive Baptist Church’s Dr. M.W McCaleb Fund. Completed in October 2012, the 48,535-square-foot home consists of one-bedroom units, 22 of which are leased to tenants earning 50 percent or less of the area median income, while 21 are designated as permanent supportive housing for the homeless. The $7.5 million McCaleb also features a community kitchen, media room, computer room, multifunctional space and office for counseling and support services.

GCHP is also developing a $6.7 million, 26-unit affordable housing complex on Clairborne Avenue. It will feature one-bedroom apartments, three of which are earmarked for special-needs households. The latter will receive special needs services from Covenant House. The project, which broke ground in August 2013 just one mile away from the French Quarter, is being brought to life in partnership with Gardner Development.

According to The New Advocate, the Bethany Home project was first proposed back in 2009 but spent years with lawsuits and even necessitated the involvement of the U.S. Justice Department.

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Image courtesy of Gulf Coast Housing Partnership

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