A new housing-finance innovation marked a pivotal milestone when Gulf Coast Housing Partnership and Alembic Community Development broke ground on H3C, a new development that will combine affordable homes and onsite health care in Central City New Orleans.

H3C is the first pilot for Gulf Coast Housing Partnership’s Health + Housing innovation, named one of six winning ideas to receive a $2.5 million award from the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, led by Enterprise Community Partners with generous financial support from Wells Fargo.

The Health + Housing innovation recognizes the significant role quality affordable homes and access to health care have on an individual’s health outcomes. It uses investments provided by health care payors, including Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), to fund developments like H3C.

The Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge award provided funding support for H3C, and a second similar development planned for Jackson, Mississippi.

Aetna, a CVS Health Company, is also supporting H3C as part of CVS Health’s commitment to invest $25 million through R4 Capital to build affordable housing for families and seniors in Louisiana.

The 210,000-square-foot H3C will be on the site of the former Brown’s Dairy processing plant parking lot, with buildings fronting Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and Baronne Street. The name H3C conveys that health is a priority in the ongoing revitalization of the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard corridor’s longstanding principles of culture, commerce and community.

H3C will have 192 one-, two- and three-bedroom rental homes constructed to national green building standards. Ninety-two of the apartments will be reserved for seniors 55 or older with aging-in-place design elements.

The development will be the first building in Louisiana certified by Fitwel, a building rating system created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guide building design and operations to improve the health of building occupants. Prominent walkways, a fitness center and a green courtyard space will promote mobility and healthy activity at H3C.

H3C will also feature a Federally Qualified Health Center managed by DePaul Community Health Centers, one of the largest community health center networks in Louisiana.

In addition to the health center, H3C will offer an on-site community center for wellness and supportive services. The Belle Reve Center will connect residents to resources and programs, including benefit and entitlement assistance and access to psychosocial support groups. They will also engage community partners to lead on-site programs and services.

Photo: Claire Bangser