What were once unsafe and decrepit housing projects in New Orleans has been transformed into brand new dwellings, many of which benefit from energy-saving features such as spray foam insulation.
One of the city’s under developed neighborhoods, the Magnolia projects is renamed Harmony Oaks Apartments, a complex partially subsidized by the government to address the housing needs of lower-income families. Harmony Oaks Apartments comprises of 460-units replacing one of the public housing compounds swept by Katrina.
Apartment owners claim that along with changes in infrastructure came a peaceful and safer environment. Shootings and drug dealing once plagued the old projects.
Another means for residents to save on expenses is by employing foaming insulation treatments that cut down energy costs. An alternative to conventional insulation, spray foam insulation is sprayed on concrete interiors, wall cavities, and roof tiles, filling air gaps and protecting the building from moisture.
The old model of gated housing projects is now replaced by a mix of market-valued and government-subsidized houses. 900 units have opened to homeowners in New Orleans, setting in place a development plan of 3,100 more houses.
New Orleans housing is unique in its complete overhaul of all public housing projects instead opting for gradual restoration. Locals agree that this wave of development provide a more livable habitation and attract less crime which was a major problem in decades-old housing projects. Some advocates however warn that a number of poor families still would not be able to afford brand new units.
Only 5,000 families occupied the city’s 12,000 public dwellings after Katrina, according to government statistics. These public housing units were then demolished after city officials coordinated with private developers to rebuild new houses.
A lot of the public housing in New Orleans were constructed at the end of the Great Depression to create new jobs. Through decades the houses were poorly maintained. A spike in crime rate paired with neglect drove homeowners to move out. Katrina further emptied the government housing projects.
Now reports of crime have steadily dropped since the construction of new units. In a compound renamed Columbia Parc, communities have gradually formed as film viewings and social events in clubhouses once again lit up the neighborhood.
Public housing projects make up about a third of the new developments. Housing officials say that many families who have been displaced will have to wait a while to get units. Harmony Oaks holds a 4,000-person waiting list.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, those unable to dwell in complexes can apply for a federal voucher and live in market-priced units. Another waiting list of 22,000 families however might keep them out.
A non-profit agency called Neighborhood Housing Services have observed a rise in jobs and new businesses after new housing welcomed residents of low-income families to better environs and improved neighborhoods.
The new units can further improve and prove more livable by investing in energy-saving and cost-effective means of insulation. Spray foam insulation not only control the temperature and moisture of the building but also reduces airborne noise transferred through the floor, walls and roof. New Orleans would have better quality homes that are not only properly insulated but also more peaceful to dwell in.
Homeowners interested in spray foam insulation should visit www.ecostarfoam.com