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RISMEDIA, Dec. 27, 2007-Last week, the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously in favor of proceeding with the rebuilding process of several public housing developments in New Orleans. Due to this landmark decision, Providence and Enterprise, the two non-profits redeveloping the Lafitte public housing development, will be able to start the work needed to rebuild the community for returning residents.Providence and Enterprise were selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) to plan and develop a new community on and around the site of Lafitte in historic Tremé neighborhood. The Providence-Enterprise team is working to develop mixed-use, mixed-income properties that will include 900 subsidized rental apartments and 600 homes for first-time homeowner and working families.

“We listened to the residents who want to come back home to a stronger, healthier community,” said Doris W. Koo, president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners. “Today, the City Council listened as well. We are very excited to continue our work with the families and other community leaders so we together can cooperatively create Tremé/Lafitte into a neighborhood of choice.”

Providence and Enterprise say that they have committed to the right of return for former residents and a phased rebuilding approach so individuals who want to return can do so immediately. Included within the Providence-Enterprise plan is the immediate rehabilitation of at least 94 apartments to be reopened for short-term occupation and the preservation of three historic buildings and the Sojourner Truth community center.

“They (the New Orleans City Council) did the right thing,” says former Lafitte resident Dariel Celestin. “We’re moving forward in the right direction. This will allow for quality housing and better communities–hopefully crime and drug free environments.”

The Providence-Enterprise team has been awarded $12.8 million in Gulf Opportunity Zone Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency and $27 million in Community Development Block Grant funds from the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development.

“I’m saddened by the violence that erupted this morning,” said Jim Kelly, Providence President & CEO. “These are emotionally trying times in post-Katrina New Orleans. But I am inspired by the Council’s thoughtful and prayerful discernment and their courageous vote this afternoon. We are also grateful for their unanimous mandate that every resident of public housing should have the opportunity to return to New Orleans and to decent and affordable apartments or homes. Providence and Enterprise are humbled by the Council’s faith in us and our plans for the redevelopment of Lafitte.”

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