Baptist Town featured in HUD magazine

We are excited to be featured in PD&R Edge, the online magazine of HUD (the US Department of Housing and Urban Development). An excerpt is below or read the full article.

“The cottages are part of the Baptist Town neighborhood revitalization project, which includes new parks, streetscape improvements, job training, and a community center… According to Emily Roush-Elliott, an architectural fellow…, the built environment often reinforces social and economic inequity instead of helping residents. One of the goals of the Baptist Town Cottages is to reverse some of that inequity by providing desperately needed affordable housing and helping residents build financial equity through homeownership…The installation and finishing of the cottages were seen as a ‘joint investment in both the built environment and human capacity,’ says Roush-Elliott, and were used to enhance the job readiness of some Baptist Town residents [who] received on-the-job training in carpentry and other building trades as they helped complete the cottages.”

lora and michael’s cottage story

Lora and Michael

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas continues the series featuring Cottage buyers with a great PR Newswire article about Lora and Michael.

Lora and Michael Gallion were lifelong renters and living on a fixed income. The only houses the couple could afford were run-down spaces that were almost uninhabitable.

Then one day, the Gallions saw a sign about the Baptist Town Cottages, a revitalized neighborhood in Greenwood, Mississippi, with new homes for families earning less than 50 percent of the area median income.

“I’m so glad we saw the sign,” said Mrs. Gallion, 50, a former certified nursing assistant now living on disability. “We had looked at other homes to rent, but even at $400 a month, the condition of them was not good.””

Continue reading the article at PR Newswire.

he who seeks truth… in apartment buildings

By far, one of the highlights of the American Institute of Architects 2015 National Convention was Moshe Safdie’s acceptance of the Gold Medal Award. Safdie’s work strikes the difficult balance between sensitivity and scale, between humane and replicable.

In this TED talk from 2014, Safdie shares design and planning lessons learned over nearly fifty years, beginning with Habitat ’67 and spanning to projects currently under construction in Singapore. Though he discusses low and middle income housing throughout this video, his focus is on nature and shared spaces, underlying the lack of ego with which Safdie approaches architecture.

He who seeks truth shall find beauty
He who seeks beauty shall find vanity

He who seeks order shall find gratification
He who seeks gratification shall be disappointed

He who considers himself a servant of his fellow beings shall find the joy of self expression
He who seeks self expression shall fall into the pit of arrogance

Arrogance is incompatible with nature
Through nature, the nature of the universe and the nature of man, we shall seek truth
If we seek truth we shall find beauty
-Moshe Safdie

eleven families will open the door to their new home

As we wrap up construction of the first phase of the Baptist Town Cottage Project, Enterprise continues to support the work in a variety of ways. Most recently, it’s exciting to see a news release about the project, and to be cited by Michelle Whetten as contributing to the overall mission of Enterprise.

“At Enterprise, we are committed to ending housing insecurity within a generation, which means no more homelessness and no more families paying more than half of their income on housing. The Baptist Town cottages will help this community meet the need for affordable housing beginning with these 11 families,” said Michelle Whetten, Enterprise Community Partners Inc.’s Gulf Coast Market Leader. 

Read the full release here.

Below, utilities have been connected at the cottages, and the previously vacant lot is no longer dark.

IMG_0806 night

rock, paper, people

(concrete, permits, homeowners)

Developing affordable housing is not easy. It’s a complex, political process that requires a team to realize at any scale. After years of effort from multiple project partners, the Baptist Town Cottage Project is making strides. With permits in hand, concrete is being poured for the first foundations today!

Perhaps more important than these visible steps, the project team hosted Fred Johnson of the New Orleans Neighborhood Development Foundation last week. Fred is a home ownership counseling expert who taught a class to future cottage owners on the “rights, privileges, and responsibilities” of home ownership. After many months of hard work, Fred’s enthusiasm and perspective reminded us all how excited we are about this opportunity for eleven families to move toward increased economic stability.  Many thanks to Enterprise Gulf Coast for sending us just the expert we needed.

a message from Enterprise

On any given night, 630,000 people in the United States are homeless. One in six of these people is a veteran and one in five has a child to support.

With your support, we can begin to change these conditions through the thoughtful design of affordable, supportive housing for formerly-homeless populations; design that promotes physical and mental wellbeing, recovery, and community.

Design makes all the difference for at-risk populations. Star Apartments in downtown Los Angeles is a perfect example. Since completing her fellowship in 2012 with SkidRow Housing Trust, Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow Theresa Hwang has continued to use her design background to direct the development of this pivotal project. The results; 102 apartments for formerly homeless individuals; the first mixed-use, multi-unit supportive housing project employing entirely green construction methods in Los Angeles.

Please help support our mission through our year-end CrowdRise Holiday Challenge. Plus, thanks to a generous grant from The Kendeda Fund, your contribution will be matched, dollar for dollar! To date, we are at 50% of our fundraising goal and the Holiday Challenge ends January 9th at noon.

Again, my deepest thanks for supporting our work over the years, and thank you in advance for your support during the Holiday Challenge.

Best wishes,

Katie Swenson

And, if you donate $50 or more from January 5th at 12pm EST – January 8th at 12pm EST, you will automatically be entered to win a Droid Ultra Smartphone!

skidrow for blog