Volunteers of America to Host Groundbreaking for Senior Housing at Houma Elementary

Houma, LA (January 1, 2016) -- The historic Houma Elementary School site will receive new life next year as the Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans open the Houma School Apartments, providing 103 new apartments for seniors ages 62 and above through the conversion of the school building for housing and construction of a new residential building on the grounds. Local officials will join Volunteers of America and Renaissance Development Corporation staff at a groundbreaking on Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. The school is located at 711 Grinage Street.

Built in 1931, Houma Elementary was last used for classroom instruction in 1970 before being converted to School Board offices. Those personnel relocated in 2014, leaving the structure vacant. The redeveloped and repurposed site will open in spring 2017 and will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments with high ceilings, wood flooring, ceiling fans, full kitchens and in-unit washer and dryers, all incorporated with historic, original architectural elements. The grounds will feature large, landscaped front yards under historic oaks, multiple gardens, a plaza, three community centers, on-site parking, and easy access to nearby downtown Houma.

"This development will feature 103 apartments for seniors at a variety of income levels in a beautifully restored school building where many residents of Terrebonne Parish have fond memories," said James LeBlanc, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans. "We could only do this with the tremendous support of the Terrebonne Council on Aging and the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government.

"The renovation of the Houma Elementary building illustrates how Volunteers of America strives to create developments that fulfill the needs of the community," LeBlanc said. "We are pleased to provide seniors affordable and comfortable housing with easy access to community services."

The buildings will be certified as environmentally responsible by Enterprise Green Communities, and will feature energy-efficient electrical and mechanical systems including Energy Star labeled appliances, water-conserving fixtures and materials and finishes that lead to a healthy indoor environment.

"This Volunteers of America development is a wonderful opportunity to both reutilize our historic Houma Elementary building and bring much needed affordable housing to seniors in Terrebonne Parish," said Parish President Michel Claudet.

Developments such as this provide growing communities with much needed senior housing that has great access to commercial services that is well served by public transportation and is walkable.

"The Houma School Apartments began as a place for educating our young people and will become a home for senior citizens who need affordable options to live with dignity and independence," said Michelle Thomas of the Louisiana Housing Corporation. "It's a great example of how LHC's tax credits fund innovative projects that can repurpose buildings, revitalize communities, and provide opportunities for our elders to age in place."

Media are invited and encouraged to attend the groundbreaking on Jan. 5. For more information, visit www.VOAGNO.org.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men returning from prison, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart-and ultimately the spirit-of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.