Katrina 15: Building Resilient Futures
Fifteen years ago, Enterprise made a commitment to help rebuild homes and communities in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that followed. Since then, we have invested about $530 million, and together with our partners, we have helped create nearly 13,000 affordable homes for families across the Gulf Coast region.
More importantly, with public and private sector partners, we have helped create a stronger system that is working together to solve complex housing challenges and is better prepared for the next disaster. Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina provide important guidance to our recovery and rebuilding efforts across the country.
Here’s a look back at some of our work over the last 15 years.
August 29, 2005
Hurricane Katrina bears down on the Gulf Coast leaving devastation in its path and displacing more than 1 million people. Beyond the toll on lives, homes, businesses and public infrastructure, the storm and the flooding that followed exposed deeply entrenched poverty and substandard living conditions of families across the region. The disaster created an unprecedented affordable housing crisis, and the recovery revealed disproportionate challenges faced by low-income and communities of color.
Congress Passes the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act
To support the recovery and rebuilding of the region affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act provided tax benefits including $330 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), a crucial resource for rebuilding affordable rental homes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas. Congress would eventually provide $20 billion in Community Development Block Grants for the housing recovery. Enterprise's public policy team was part of a coalition that advocated for these important resources.
Enterprise Gulf Coast Office Opens in New Orleans
We opened our Gulf Coast office in New Orleans to support rebuilding of homes and lives, focusing on the hardest-hit areas and very low-income households. Our priorities were to increase capital for high quality, affordable homes, support public and nonprofit capacity, advocate effective policies and demonstrate resilient, healthy and energy-efficient models of development. We set an ambitious goal of being a catalyst in the development of 10,000 affordable homes through the investment of more than $200 million in loans, grants and equity.
Rose Fellows in the Gulf Coast
Five Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows helped integrate resilient and sustainable building practices and products into the affordable housing developments in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Delta Region. Host organizations included Providence Community Housing, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Greenwood-Leflore Economic Development Foundation / Carl Small Town Center, Hope Enterprise Corporation, Delta Design-Build Workshop and New Orleans Redevelopment Authority. The five Rose Fellows are Carey Clouse, Seth Welty, Emily Roush Elliott, Michelle Stadelman and Nick Satterfield.
First Enterprise Gulf Opportunity Zone Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Deal Closes
Enterprise celebrated the start of construction of Nazareth Inn with developer Providence Community Housing and property manager Christopher Homes. Nazareth Inn was one of many LIHTC equity investments that supported the redevelopment of flooded homes and the creation of new affordable housing in the region. The development provides affordable homes to seniors and people with physical disabilities.
Mississippi Cottages Permanent Housing
In Ocean Springs, Mississippi, residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina moved into new energy-efficient homes at Cottage Square, the first of many Katrina cottage neighborhoods. These cottages are among the 3,000 built by the State of Mississippi as alternatives to FEMA travel trailers. Enterprise partnered with the Katrina Cottage Group, LLC and other nonprofits to demonstrate how these cottages – that once provided temporary housing for homeowners while their storm-damaged homes were being rebuilt – can provide high-quality, permanent affordable and workforce housing.
First Public Housing Rebuilt in Hancock County, Mississippi
In Waveland, Mississippi, the Bay Waveland Housing Authority celebrated the opening of Oak Haven Apartments, cottage-style homes that feature state-of-the-art wind- and water-resistant construction techniques. Oak Haven provides a much-needed source of affordable homes, a community center and full program-services for area seniors, including former public housing residents who were displaced by Katrina. The Oak Haven development was the first public housing to be rebuilt in Hancock County, which was ground zero for Katrina in Mississippi.
First Faubourg Lafitte On-Site Housing Completed
Enterprise partnered with Providence Community Housing and L+M Development in the revitalization of the former Lafitte public housing community in New Orleans’ historic Treme neighborhood. Designed with meaningful participation from former Lafitte residents, Faubourg Lafitte consists of affordable and market-rate rentals and for-sale homes on the original 27 acres. Built to Enterprise Green Communities standards, Lafitte offers residents programs to improve personal and financial wellbeing, academic achievement and health through the Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center.
Enterprise Louisiana Loan Fund Single Family Product Launches
Enterprise, the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group launched the Louisiana Loan Fund’s construction take-out loan product to support the development of affordable single-family, for-sale homes on formerly vacant and blighted properties. Together with the early predevelopment and acquisition product, the fund’s three products have supported the construction of more than 1,300 affordable rental and single-family, for-sale homes for low- to moderate-income residents across the state.
Enterprise Meets $200 Million Investment Commitment
Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation created the Lykes Steamship District at 1770 Tchoupitoulas Street, a two-acre site along the Mississippi riverfront in New Orleans. The rehabilitated historic building contains Centennial Place, a 52-unit residential rental apartment building and a climate-controlled storage facility. The renovated Centennial Cotton Press Building houses Fresh Food Factor, operated by Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana, which provides nutritional meals to institutional customers and training for employment in the city’s vast food service industry. This investment brought Enterprise’s total over our initial $200 million goal.
Neighborhood Stabilization Program Contributes to Rebuilding of New Orleans Communities
The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) was awarded $29.7 million through HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program to address vacancy and foreclosure risk across the city. Enterprise supported NORA’s administration of the program through technical assistance and financing of single-family homes built on formerly vacant and blighted properties that resulted in over 460 certified green affordable homes.
President Obama Visits Faubourg Lafitte on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, visited Faubourg Lafitte to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. "What you are seeing here is an example of the incredible federal, state, local partnerships that helped revitalize this community."
New Orleans Housing Plan Released by Mayor Landrieu
Housing for a Resilient New Orleans is a five-year strategy to increase affordable homes with a goal to build or preserve 7,500 units by 2021. This report was prepared by the City of New Orleans and Enterprise, with support from the National Resource Network. The plan builds off the recommendations of the community-led HousingNOLA plan, a cross-sector initiative that documented the state of housing. The plan lays out strategies to build and preserve affordable homes, expand access to opportunity and promote mobility and increase accessibility for vulnerable populations.
Southeast Louisiana Floods
Historic floods devastated parts of south Louisiana after more than 20 inches of rain affected parts of East Baton Rouge and nearby parishes in a three-day span. In response to the flooding, our Gulf Coast team created the Louisiana Disaster Assistance Relief Fund, supporting the work of nonprofits to gut over 400 homes, manage over 2,500 volunteers and provide disaster case management services to over 250 families.
August 17, 2017
Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas Gulf Coast, producing 130 mph winds and dropping more than 50 inches of rain on parts of southeast Texas. Enterprise, in partnership with Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, created the Housing and Economic Assistance to Rebuild Texas (HEART) program which has provided more than $2.5 million in grants and technical assistance to 39 nonprofits providing housing assistance to families displaced and affected by Hurricane Harvey. The HEART program is funded through the Rebuild Texas Fund, the Meadows Foundation and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
Undesign the Redline Exhibit Launches
Undesign the Redline is an interactive exhibit exploring the history of race, class and U.S. housing policy, and how this legacy of inequity and exclusion continues to shape our communities. Created by Designing the WE with a local advisory committee and hosted in partnership with Tulane University’s Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, the exhibit attracted more than 1,200 visitors throughout its run from November 2018 to April 2019. City of New Orleans elected officials and staff were given tours of the exhibit, which was also displayed at City Hall. The city is now engaged in actions to implement an inclusionary zoning policy and study zoning changes that address racial inequities.
Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019
The Enterprise policy team has worked with Congress and federal agencies to make improvements to federal programs to better support communities and households recovering from natural disasters; highlight the need for dedicated technical assistance and capacity building for governments and nonprofits receiving federal funds; and develop and share best practices on how to maximize the effectiveness of disaster recovery and hazard mitigation funds. Enterprise specifically has championed the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019, which would permanently authorize and improve the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program at HUD.
Revitalization in Broadmoor
The complete renovation of the historic Bohn Motor Co. building, an iconic, but long-vacant and exposed structure in New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood, was completed by Gulf Coast Housing Partnership with Rhodes Commercial Development into a state of the art federally qualified health center operated by Odyssey House Louisiana, a substance abuse treatment and health care provider. Financing includes $9.5 million in New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation from Enterprise and $5 million in NMTC allocation from Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.
Resources During Covid-19 Pandemic
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is having an immediate and adverse effect on communities across the country, and perhaps nowhere are the impacts felt more severely than in the Gulf Coast. As we experienced following Hurricane Katrina and subsequent disasters, the region’s nonprofits play a vital role in responding to emergency and long-term recovery needs. But the pandemic is having a dire financial impact on these nonprofits. In response, Enterprise launched the Emergency Action for Resident and Partner Stability program, and to date, we have provided more than $600,000 in grants and technical assistance to nine nonprofits.