Recently, Monroe, Louisiana celebrated the opening of the its heralded Booker T. Senior Village, the latest bright spot in an aging neighborhood now being revitalized by many of its former residents. This new senior village represents the first of its kind in the state.
The Booker T. Senior Village is part of a much larger $4 million dollar project, which will consist not only of these newly-opened 28 units of permanent rental housing for low-income residents, but in addition, a new 26-unit assisted living center and dementia facility, a new child care center, and a new adult day care center, all situated on the 7.2 acres located in the Booker T. neighborhood.
The new 28 units were funded for $1,610,900, under the HUD Multifamily Section 202 Program, and the Booker T. residents will also be receiving additional HUD Project Rental Assistance Subsidy (PRAC) funds, totaling $336,500 over the next five years.
This Booker T. Senior Village is a product of the Booker T. Community Outreach Project, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c) (3) certified Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) in Monroe that was formed in 1996 by a group of ‘baby boomers’ who simply wanted to give something back to the Booker T. community. And they have definitely given something back to this Louisiana community!
In addition to this new Senior Village, the Booker T. Community Outreach Project has also successfully built single-family housing for the elderly in this community, developed a Booker T. Mini Mall, and they have also provided advocacy for various causes for their seniors. They have also developed and coordinate a special community Food Program, a SNAPP Program, a First-Time Homebuyers Program and a unique Handy-Man Program to assist elderly homeowners with home repairs.
The Booker T. Community Outreach Project is working hard to improve and enhance the quality of life of the citizenry living in the Booker T. Washington neighborhood, and its results are beginning to show. With the assistance of HUD Multifamily Housing staff like Ray Carson, Joe Pennel, Charlotte Mitchell, Bill Weathersby, and Dianne Smith, many low-income residents like those in the Booker T. neighborhood are being given an opportunity to maintain a healthy, decent and comfortable life in familiar surroundings.
(Ray Carson, Director of the Fort Worth Multifamily Program Center; Joe Pennel, Chief of the Fort Worth Multifamily TAP Team; Charlotte Mitchell, Fort Worth Multifamily Project Manager; William Weathersby, Fort Worth Multifamily Architect; Dianne Smith, Shreveport Multifamily Project Manager.)