WASHINGTON – Thanks to a little-known federal program, 46 low-income seniors who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina received a grand welcome home celebration today in New Orleans at the Terraces on Tulane senior housing community that will ultimately house 200 families.
Carol Galante, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Multifamily Housing, joined Charles W. Gould, Volunteers of America (VOA) National President and Jim LeBlanc, CEO of VOA’s Greater New Orleans area office for the grand opening of the new senior housing community that replaced Forest Towers East that was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
“The work that was done to bring these families home illustrates HUD and the Obama Administration’s commitment to do whatever it takes to ensure families in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region truly recover from the devastation of Katrina and Rita,” said Galante. “The smiles I see and the laughter I hear today among these families tells me it was well worth all of our efforts.”
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the families who lived in Forest Towers East received rental subsidy through HUD’s Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program. After it was determined that the hurricane damage rendered Forest Towers East uninhabitable, employees in HUD’s New Orleans and Fort Worth, Tex. field offices and Headquarters worked closely with VOA to use HUD’s Section 318 Program. The little-known program was used to transfer the HUD subsidy the residents received at Forest Towers East to the new $43 million facility. The Section 318 Program has been used less than a dozen times since it was created in 2006.
The new location, which includes a state-of-the-art security and a comprehensive care to residents, also positions the families in the midst of a renaissance of growth and development with access to hospitals, clinics, grocery stores, banking and entertainment.