Real Estate Grants are Rebuilding New Orleans

September 18, 2011

Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed approximately 800,000 homes in New Orleans. Some were destroyed by the force of the wind, but most were flooded when the levees failed. During my tour of the city, I saw tens of thousands of buildings on which the water line is still plainly visible, and the majority of these houses are so damaged by mold they can never again be occupied.  For the most part, insurance companies covered losses attributable to wind, but almost no one had flood insurance.  So, in reality, few people received money to rebuild.

New Orleans’ population has fallen by almost two hundred thousand, and many of these were homeowners who simply walked away from their properties, never to return.  FEMA funded the razing of some of the houses, and this year the city received FEMA funding to tear down an additional 900 homes. Federal Community Block Grant funds have been used to demolish others. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has stated a goal of tearing down 10,000 more uninhabitable structures by 2014.  Some local sources, however, estimate another 40,000 are still in need of complete demolition.

Ninth Ward of New Orleans post katrina

As you can imagine, this situation has caused an acute housing shortage.  Housing developers are working hard to fill the gap, taking advantage of government, foundation, and corporate grants to create affordable housing.  In my last post, I wrote about the work of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation, and Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO).  Another noteworthy project is Musicians’ Village, the brainstorm of New Orleans musicians and childhood friends, Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis.  Working with Habitat for Humanity, they secured eight acres in the Upper Ninth Ward to create a multi-generational community for the city’s musicians.  To date, 72 houses have been built, and work is underway on completing a performance and teaching center.


Another program located nearby is Baptist Crossroads Project, a planned 100 houses funded with the assistance of Habitat for Humanity and a $1.5 million grant from Baptist Community Ministries.

The groups working in New Orleans are accessing the same type of funding that is available in communities all over the United States.  These grants and low-cost loans are available not just to non-profit organizations, but also to individual investors and developers.  One of the most important aspect of the work I do is getting out the word about grants for real estate, and The New American Land Rush: How to Buy Real Estate with Government Money provides complete information on federal, state and local real estate grants and low-cost loans.

You can access much more information at:

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2 Responses to Real Estate Grants are Rebuilding New Orleans

  1. Rev. Raquel Mack on September 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I am an ordained minister from Canada down here in New Orleans hoping to open a church. The church
    will have a vibrant youth group and small buisness in the lower ninth ward. Do I qualify for any grant? Thank you.

  2. Jillian Wheeler on September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Rev. Raquel, I would recommend that you incorporate your youth program as a 501(c) non-profit organization under U.S. tax law. For information about setting up a non-profit, finding and writing grants, please visit:

    Best of luck with your project!

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