Greater New Orleans Foundation Invests $1 Million to Support Long-Term Affordable Homes for New Orleans Families

Last grant from affordable housing fund 

New Orleans, LA (January 5, 2015) – Over the next ten years, a total of 1,000 permanently affordable housing units will make home ownership possible for many low-income families through an innovative program developed by the Crescent City Community Land Trust (CCCLT).  The land trust approach, which is catching on across the United States, helps hard-working individuals purchase homes and access affordable, high-quality rental housing within easy reach of good jobs, strong schools, and accessible transportation.

The Crescent City Community Land Trust is one of the first nonprofits to introduce the land trust approach to New Orleans, and it’s the last organization to receive funding from the Foundation’s Community Revitalization Fund which has awarded $21.5 million for the creation of approximately 10,000 affordable housing units since its inception in 2007.

“With disaster funding coming to an end, we have to look at smarter ways to leverage our dollars so that more and more families in our community have access to affordable housing,” said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “By investing in the community land trust approach, we’re committing to making—and keeping—homes affordable.” Community land trusts keep an ownership interest in every property they develop, thus ensuring affordable rental or purchase prices in perpetuity.

CCCLT is creating a multi-million dollar Crescent City Futures Fund in partnership with Capital Impact Partners, a highly accredited national Community Development Financial Institution that invests capital in underserved communities. Administered by Capital Impact, the Futures Fund will provide acquisition and predevelopment loans to community land trust-based development projects, including affordable housing, mixed-income housing, and commercial community services – all of which will remain in place for the long term benefit of the community. Additional funding for the Crescent City Futures Fund is coming from the public sector, private capital, and other foundations. The loan pool will be recycled to fund a series of projects, supporting the development of over 1,000 affordable housing units in New Orleans over the next decade.

“Properties that are developed as ‘affordable housing’ typically remain affordable for about 10 to 15 years,” says Van Temple, executive director of the Crescent City Community Land Trust. “Since 2005, many affordable housing units have been developed in New Orleans using public funds and tax credits. A number of these units are not guaranteed to remain affordable for the long term, raising concerns about where low-income families will live.

“As a mission-driven lender, we believe that investing in inclusive growth projects like these is critical to building strong, vibrant communities,” said Terry Simonette, President and CEO of Capital Impact Partners. “Much like our efforts in Detroit, we are excited to expand our work in New Orleans to help revitalize its low income communities.”

Twenty-one national and local foundations came together in 2007 to create the Community Revitalization Fund to channel philanthropic dollars to nonprofits, national intermediaries, government, and advocacy organizations to address the post-Katrina housing crises.

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of Katrina, we’re forever grateful to the local and national corporations, and individuals who contributed to the Community Revitalization Fund,” said Ruesga. “With their support we’ve been able to produce high quality, mixed-income housing in neighborhoods where people want to live; create housing opportunities for returning families; and increase the pool of qualified home buyers and renters.”

For a complete list of grants awarded from the Community Revitalization Fund, visit dev.gnof.org/program/community-revitalization/.