Volunteers of America Breaks Ground on New Northshore Housing Development

Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans broke ground on its newest housing development, The Cottages at Mile Branch. Located at 424 Purslane Drive in Covington, the development will offer 25 two, three and four-bedroom single-family homes on individual lots. Thirteen of the homes will be set aside for veterans and their families; four of those will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and be able to accommodate the needs of physically injured veterans.

The development will be owned and managed by Renaissance Neighborhood Development Corporation (RNDC), a subsidiary of Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans. RNDC also operates the neighboring 94-unit apartment community, The Groves at Mile Branch, which was completed in 2011.

Among those participating in today's groundbreaking were St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, Covington Mayor Mike Cooper, Volunteers of America President and CEO Mike King, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans Board Chair Wayne Baquet, Jr., Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans President and CEO James LeBlanc, RNDC Board Chair Leonard Simmons, Jr., RNDC Executive Director Victor Smeltz, Assistant Vice President of PNC Real Estate Cari Threadgill, Home Depot District Manager Patricia Stoddard, and Louisiana Housing Corporation COO Brad Sweazy.

"We are so grateful Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans is able to bring affordable, high-quality housing to veterans and families in need on the Northshore. We could not do it without the tremendous support we have received from the community and our financial partners, Louisiana Housing Corporation, PNC Real Estate, The Home Depot Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners," says Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans President and CEO James LeBlanc.

The houses are part of a Lease-to-Own program with a 15-year rental period designed as workforce housing with a preference for veterans. After 15 years, these rentals will convert to for-sale properties with the intent that the existing renting residents will be able to purchase their own home.

The homes will be income and rent restricted to be affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. These eco-friendly houses are designed and built to Enterprise Green Communities 2011 standards. Each will be equipped with Energy Star labeled fixtures and appliances including a dishwasher, garbage disposal, oven, refrigerator, and microwave, whole house building insulation, and efficient HVAC system. Each house will also include an efficient, full-size washer/dryer located in a laundry room, as well as a front porch, backyard and off-street parking space.

In addition to living in an energy-efficient home in a beautiful neighborhood, residents will belong to a neighborhood association and have access to a community park, recreation facilities, computer lab and even top-ranked public education in nearby schools.