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$6 million housing project has yet to receive funds

6 days 18 hours 48 minutes ago Friday, March 17 2023 Mar 17, 2023 March 17, 2023 12:23 AM March 17, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - In 2021, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council approved a project that would allocate $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to be used to build affordable housing for essential workers.

"This development would create new jobs in north Baton Rouge, directly inject dollars into the local economy through the utilization of a local developer and create 36 affordable housing units for essential workers and young professionals within our city and parish. It goes without saying that the impact of this $6 million allocation goes far beyond the area of development," Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said.

The 36-unit, 51,000-square-foot mixed-use space set to be built at Sora Street and Swan Avenue would allow the parish to be able to revitalize, renovate and develop that area of Scotlandville.

"People who see low-income housing as something bad for the community, what we're bringing is not slum apartments. We're bringing luxury loft apartments that are going to be affordable," developer and activist Queen Muhammad Ali said.

Although the plan has been approved, Housing for Heroes still has not received the funds for the project. The mayor's office says it's because the developers haven't met the federal requirements for the loan yet.

"For affordable housing projects that are using ARPA dollars, there's certain rules and regulations that they have to meet. We've gone back and forth at the table with the folks at Housing for Heroes, and they seem to have a different opinion, so, between the mayor's office and parish attorney, as well as outside consultants that we've gotten to give opinions, the only one that's different here is the attorney representing Housing for Heroes," Mayor's Chief of Staff Dante Bidwell said.

Although the development remains at a standstill, Mayor Broome's office says they are optimistic they can get the project off the ground.

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