Double Home Advantage is Rebuilding Homes in Mid-City
Myra Duchane’s rebuilding from major Hurricane Katrina damage came to a halt after she was defrauded by a contractor, robbed three times, and lost her job. Her Mid-City duplex sat vacant for five years. While paying rent on an apartment plus the mortgage on her uninhabitable home, she could not afford to complete the repairs.
“Then I got accepted by the United Way, and they said that they had a Double Home Advantage program going on to help homeowners move back into their homes and to rent the other side,” said Duchane.
Double Home Advantage, a program of United Way CARE, provides funds and volunteers to complete home repairs with built-in energy savings. They also offer landlord training for the homeowners and assistance with finding tenants.
“The Double Home Advantage program is dual purpose,” said director Ellenor Simmons. “One is to get homeowners back into their homes, but the other is to address the need for renters to have affordable housing. In exchange for getting the rental side done for the homeowner, we’re requiring that the rental unit be offered at a rate that’s affordable for lower income people.”
“It helped me mend the gap,” said Duchane. “They had volunteers, and they did a lot. They finished the repairs. I moved back in February. I’m very grateful. It if wasn’t for the Double Home Advantage program, I would not be in my home. ”
Double Home Advantage is focused in the Mid-City Planning District, an area with a high concentration of small multi-family units – the doubles, triplexes, and fourplexes that add to New Orleans’ unique character. This mixed neighborhood of homeowners and renters is rebuilding quickly. Mid-City also offers the infrastructure needed by working families, such as public transportation and grocery stores.
“New Orleans is now up there with major cities like Milwaukee, New York and Chicago in terms of housing cost,” said Simmons. “However, we don’t have the commensurate salaries like in those big cities. That means there’s an inordinate burden for people here, not only for renters but also for homeowners.”
Quality affordable housing and reducing blight are major priorities of the Community Revitalization Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, a program that has helped 9,500 families return to new or rehabilitated homes since its inception in 2007. The Double Home Advantage program was made possible with a $540,000 grant from the Community Revitalization Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
Written by Rebecca Conner