New Orleans, Louisiana Today, The Right Reverend Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana announced the Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative (JREHI)), a first of its kind Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana housing plan targeting New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood.
Jericho Road is a faith based non-profit organization formed in response to the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. According to Charles Jenkins, the Chairman of the Jericho Road Board and Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, Jericho's mission is to provide quality affordable housing in pre-existing neighborhoods in New Orleans.
Bishop Jenkins said, "Our first goal is to construct 150 homes in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. While doing so we pray that we will be able to collaborate with other faith groups in sharing this ministry so important to the future of New Orleans."
The Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative, LLC was formed in March and is a partnership of the Diocese of Louisiana and Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). ERD provided the initial funding totaling $2.3 million which will be used for administrative management, property acquisition and construction. The funding from ERD, combined with planned financing from the Whitney Community Development Corporation will result in an investment in Central City of over $20 million.
According to Vice Chair of the Jericho Road, The Very Reverend David duPlantier, Dean and Rector Christ Church Cathedral, this is a challenging time in New Orleans but it is also an exciting time for opportunity and change in all neighborhoods.
"Jericho Road through its broad and diverse partnerships will transform New Orleans into an American City that will again set the standard for people of diverse ethnic, cultural and socio economic backgrounds to live together in mixed and vibrant communities. One of our City's most unique characteristics is that for hundreds of years people of vastly different backgrounds have lived in close proximity to one another inspiring and influencing culture, religion and family life. Jericho Road will continue that vital New Orleans neighborhood tradition," Dean duPlantier said.
The Jericho Road Pilot Program, launched this week with the purchase of five empty lots from the Whitney Community Development Corporation, is the first step for the Jericho housing initiative.
The purpose of the pilot program is to implement and then critique all aspects of Jericho Road including: site selection; client identification and training; availability of homeowners insurance, cost of mortgage products and a realistic understanding of the building process post-Katrina. A variety of housing stock is being considered including, modular, steel, cement as well as traditional stick built. Jericho Road has begun to build neighborhood partnerships near the area of the newly acquired properties and throughout the Central City neighborhood.
The Jericho Road Governing Board consists of a Board of Directors, Members at Large and a Non Voting Membership. Board of Directors: The Right Reverend Charles Jenkins, Bishop of Louisiana, Chair; The Very Reverend David Allard duPlantier, Dean and Rector Christ Church Cathedral, Vice Chair; Chris Beary, Esq., Senior Warden, Christ Church Cathedral, Treasurer. Members at Large: Ellen Ball, Lay Representative, Trinity Episcopal Church; The Reverend Susan Gaumer, Rector, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church; Julie George, Esq., Lay Representative, Trinity Episcopal Church; The Reverend Dr. Patrick Keen, Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church; Mr. Ronald Markham, CEO, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra; Superintendent John E. Pierre, Pastor, Living Witness Church; The Reverend Dabney Smith, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church. Non Voting members: Bradford Powers, Esq., Executive Director and Recording Secretary; Elizabeth Brady, Director of Public Relations, Diocese of Louisiana; The Reverend Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Canon to the Ordinary, Diocese of Louisiana; Cove Geary, Esq., Chancellor, Diocese of Louisiana; Dr. Courtney Cowart, Director of Strategy and Mission, Office of Disaster Relief, ODR; The Venerable Dennis McManus, Director of Operation, Office of Disaster Relief, ODR.