Open House Held For Section 8 Tenants

by WDSU.com

ALGIERS, La. — A new community set to open next month in Treme is designed to help people still struggling to rebuild their lives.

For David Jones and his wife, the search for affordable housing in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina hasn’t been easy.

"We’re looking for something nice, reliable with security, somewhere safe," Jones said. "And pets, got to have my dog."

They and others attended an open house at Fischer Senior Community Center in Algiers to learn about Section 8, rental assistance programs and housing vouchers to aid them in their search.

The Downtown Development District has five affordable housing communities in New Orleans, Metairie and Kenner.

"It’s really important for people facing financial hardships with people losing jobs," said Joshua Bruno, of the Downtown Development Group. "They don’t understand there are other places to go to."

"Most rent is $1,400 to $2,500 a month," said Francis Brown, who was looking for affordable housing. "This is what’s being asked of these people. They don’t have the money and don’t have the resource."

Brown was gathering information for her disabled son.

"This is very good for these people," she said. "They need help. They’ve been struggling since Katrina."

Since Katrina, many New Orleanians have yet to return to their neighborhoods and communities.

The Downtown Development Group said affordable housing — for single mothers, families, and those just starting out — is one way to guarantee a happy homecoming long overdue.

"Once they’re at home and moved in, we found them some of the best tenants in New Orleans, because they really appreciate where they live," Bruno said.

St. Ann Square apartments in Treme are scheduled to open Feb. 20.

Developer plans $2M apartment conversion of Treme hotel

by CityBusiness Staff Report

NEW ORLEANS - A New Orleans developer plans to convert a Treme hotel into 40 low- to moderate-income apartments in a $2-million project.

Joshua Bruno, the 27-year-old head of New Orleans-based Downtown Development Group, said he has signed an agreement to buy the 58-unit Rainbow Hotel, 1937 St. Ann St., for $320,000.

Construction on the project, The St. Ann Square Apartments, which will include 40 one-, two- and three-bedroom units, is scheduled to begin in late May.

Completion is expected by September, Bruno said.

Unit sizes start at 600 square feet and will rent for $600 a month. Three-bedroom units at 1,200 square feet will rent for about $975 per month.

First Bank and Trust and Bruno will finance the project.

Project features will include a gated court yard, closed circuit television security surveillance system, green space, gated off-street parking, free wireless Internet, units constructed with hurricane-resistant steel and concrete bracing, energy efficient electrical and plumbing systems and reinforced windows that comply with Dade County, Fla., hurricane codes.

DDG is designing the project. Bruno Inc. will handle construction. Metro-Wide Apartments, another Bruno company, will manage and lease the property.

“St. Ann Square will provide additional affordable housing in the historic Treme area, where there was considerable damage from Hurricane Katrina,” Bruno said. “Hopefully, this project will contribute to the overall redevelopment of this important area adjacent to the French Quarter.”

In addition to the St. Ann Square Apartment units, Metro-Wide will open a neighborhood self-service laundry on St. Ann and North Prieur streets. The company will hire Treme residents to run the laundry and to provide janitorial services for the apartment complex.

Metro-Wide will also start a neighborhood crime watch program in Treme.

Treme apartment complex to open Thursday in New Orleans

by CityBusiness Staff Report

A new apartment complex in Treme is set to have a grand opening Thursday.

New Orleans-based Downtown Development Group redeveloped the former Rainbow Hotel into 44 one- and two-bedroom apartments. Units will rent for $595 for a 600-square-foot apartment and approximately $845 for a two-bedroom, "St. Ann Square will provide additional affordable housing in the historic Treme area where there was considerable damage from Hurricane Katrina," said Joshua Bruno, head of DDG. "These types of developments are urgently needed even more during these tough economic times."

Bruno Inc. handled construction. Metro-Wide Apartments, another Bruno company, will manage and lease the property.

In addition to the apartments, Bruno Inc. will open, at St. Ann and North Prieur streets, Soap-n-Suds Laundromat, which features flat-screen televisions, arcade games and computers with Internet access for customers to use while washing clothes. Bruno said he will hire Treme residents to run the laundromat and provide janitorial services for the apartment complex.

Metro-Wide will also start a neighborhood crime watch program in Treme.

Credit: CityBusiness Staff Reports


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