Bethlehem's New Affordable Housing Building Project
Bethlehem Lutheran Church needs your help to build an ADA-accessible affordable housing opportunity in the heart of New Orleans this Spring through our innovative partnership with the Tulane University School of Architecture.
Please click the button above or visit https://gofund.me/6a3ebbd6 to support and share this project!
In January 2022, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, one of the oldest historically Black Lutheran Congregations in the United States, celebrates its 133rd anniversary in New Orleans' Central City neighborhood. Over the last two years, Bethlehem has served over 45,000 gourmet meals to the community through Community Table, a program that serves around 500 free, no-questions-asked meals a week. On this momentous occasion, we are expanding our commitment to serve our neighbors by taking action against the affordable housing crisis in our neighborhood. This Spring, with your help, we will build the first of four new affordable housing units across from the church.
The Affordable Housing Crisis in New Orleans
Our vibrant Central City neighborhood is currently under assault by housing and rental prices - a crisis only intensified by Hurricane Ida. For example, the Median Household Income of Bethlehem’s 70113 ZIP is $18,446, and in New Orleans you would have to work 113 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a 2bd rental at fair market rent. Meanwhile, the waiting list for affordable housing vouchers in New Orleans is over 20,000 people long. At every meal we serve, we hear terrible stories from our neighbors about illegal evictions, unsafe living conditions, and rent prices that families simply cannot afford.
The first phase of our project will focus on constructing four new affordable rental units over the new four years. Our first house will be 1100 sqft, features a beautiful interior courtyard, and has been designed from the beginning to be ADA-accessible throughout. After we've begun this work by creating affordable housing, the second phase will build a much-needed new santuary for Bethlehem Lutheran Church to allow us to expand our kitchen and provide space to serve our neighborhood in new ways.
Partner - Tulane University School of Architecture
To build these townhouses, Bethlehem Lutheran Church is partnering with URBANbuild, an award-winning program at the Tulane University School of Architecture. In this program students design a house each fall and build it in the spring. One of the innovative aspects of this partnership has been the collaboration between Bethlehem and the Architecture students throughout the design process. Another is that the School of Architecture is donating the design and labor for this project, allowing us to construct the first townhouse, clear the lot of concrete, and do all necessary permiting for $225,000.
Partner - CrescentCare
As each unit of housing is completed, we will partner with CrescentCare, one of New Orleans' most respected community health organizations, to provide housing and supportive care to community members. CrescentCare provides high quality and culturally humble care to the entire New Orleans community. They are particularly focused on our Greater New Orleans neighbors who come from traditionally medically underserved communities: the service industry, the LGBTQ community, the uninsured and the underinsured, immigrants, and communities of color.
Groundbreaking This Week!
The groundbreaking ceremony for this project is Sunday, January 9th at 12pm. We would love for you to join us if you're in town!
Because this project is already underway, it is imperative that we raise this money by Mardi Gras Day (March 1st). With your help, we will open our first unit of affordable housing this June!
Institutions that give at least $5,000 and Individuals/Couples that give at least $1,000 will receive special recognition on site.
Everyone who contributes will be invited in-person or virtually to our dedication party (with special musical guests) once the house is completed!
Please join us and give what you can as we work together to reach our initial $50k fundraising goal. This will pay for the lumber, exterior walls, exterior doors, and exterior windows for this house!