Mixed-income housing is the best practice for transforming neighborhoods and creating quality housing that increases choices for everyone. Older subsidized housing is redeveloped into high-qual-ity housing to serve a mix of the low-income, workforce, and market-rate individuals and families. All families live in identical high-quality homes and enjoy beautiful amenities. A Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation approach can help a neighborhood compete for HUD’s $40-$50 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant (HUD CNI Grant), leveraging over $200 million of additional investment to a neighborhood in five years. This approach is being explored for the Lake Street area between I-210 and W. Sallier Street. Homes for the current residents would be replaced one-for-one to minimize concerns about displacement.
The transformation would go far beyond building new housing. The HUD CNI Grant focuses on three areas, housing, which focuses on the design and implementation of new mixed-income housing units, neighborhood, which focuses on community growth, connectivity, and significant community projects; and people, which focuses on support and services for neighborhood families.
A demonstration neighborhood transformation in the central city area of Lake Charles could bring hundreds of new mixed-income homes and millions of dollars of investment to the area north of Prien Lake Mall on Lake Street. The comprehensive transformation would provide quality housing for all families, improve the quality of life in the neighborhood with new parks and streets, and support low-income families with services. The project can become a model for future neighborhood development in both parishes.
Ensuring affordability for families and individuals of all income levels is the best practice for large and small projects. Cameron Parish can encourage a Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation model for new rental and homeownership developments by offering incentives and targeted funding sources.