From the moment of Jericho Road’s birth in 2006 to now, New Orleans has undergone extraordinary and drastic changes.
Following Hurricane Katrina, there was a tremendous need for clearing and managing blight, rebuilding structures, and bringing people home. Now, over 13 years later, we have seen the city’s needs shift. Instead of getting people back to their communities, we now must work towards keeping people in their communities. New Orleans currently faces an unprecedented affordable housing crisis that is pushing people out of neighborhoods they have resided in for generations, and out of the city all together. Traditionally affordable homes in working-class neighborhoods are now out of the price range for most working families. Wages in many industries, especially the hospitality and tourism industry, are stagnant. Housing prices in many neighborhoods have doubled since before Hurricane Katrina. For our city to thrive, we must make progress addressing the disparities in wages, homeownership, and workforce opportunities to create a more prosperous tomorrow for all.
Both 2017 and 2018 were transformational years for Jericho Road’s work. While we continued to focus on our holistic approach to community development through affordable housing, community engagement, and land stewardship in Central City, we also experienced many organizational and programmatic changes. We have witnessed the need to innovate our programming to become more organizationally effective and sustainable as the needs of New Orleans and the funding landscape has shifted. In the fall of 2017, Jericho Road acquired Project Homecoming Inc., a community development organization that was created following Hurricane Katrina with a major focus on work in the Gentilly neighborhood. The acquisition of Project Homecoming has expanded our geographic focus, diversified our funding streams, and added an in-house construction team. In 2017, we also saw the completion of our first Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation projects for very low-income and elderly homeowners. In 2018, we broke ground and completed three new affordable homes for sale to first-time homebuyers in Gentilly and Algiers while rehabbing and selling our first market rate home as a way of diversifying our revenue sources. In order to promote financial strength and job opportunities for residents of New Orleans without higher education, we expanded our Workforce Development Program. Last year, we cultivated partnerships to create and implement a curriculum to teach and certify members of our construction team.
Both 2017 and 2018 were filled with new opportunities that we continue to build upon. The past two years have been some of the most crucial in our organization’s history. We look forward to continuing our work creating and advocating for equitable affordable housing. We are looking forward to a more prosperous New Orleans for all that call the Crescent City home. I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to our strategic partners, community members, and our homeowners who have paved the way for us to continue positively impacting communities across New Orleans, especially during these past two transformative years. Thank you for all that you do! We are excited for what the future has in store for Jericho Road and New Orleans, and look forward to the continued partnerships that we have created.
Working to build New Orleans workforce through affordable housing development and hand on education!