On Thursday, June 10, 2021, the Laurel Housing Authority (LHA) announced its plans to redevelop the Old Charity Hospital, a 34-acre site, into a mixed-income residential community. The proposed development will include affordable multifamily, single family, some commercial and retail space.
The Housing Authority is also considering a walking trail, recreational space and preservation for green space. The new development, to be located in one of Laurel’s older neighborhoods, is a major step forward in LHA’s mission to expand affordable housing. With partners and plans in place, LHA held its first Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday.
The Advisory Committee includes residents from the neighborhood of the proposed site, LHA staff, LHA Board of Commissioners, City of Laurel and surrounding businesses. The committee has the critical responsibility of facilitating communication between community members, LHA staff and local partners. In addition, LHA will work with community partners to identify opportunities for homeowners in the surrounding neighborhood.
Rev. George Barnes, LHA Board Chairman said “This project allows us to continue to expand affordable housing opportunities while working with the City of Laurel to enhance one of the City’s neighborhoods.”
Ailrick D. Young, LHA Executive Director said “He looks forward to working with Mayor Magee and other community partners on this development, to add much needed quality affordable housing to the community. “
LHA hired Quadel Consulting and Training, LLC (Quadel) to develop the Master Plan for the proposed site. Along with its experts in affordable housing, The Quadel team includes MS State University’s Gulf Coast Design Studio and Grants Unlimited, LLC. Quadel Director and Jones County native, Demetria Simpson, will lead project efforts. Quadel provides full-service management and consulting services to public housing agencies, state housing agencies, and private sector clients. Quadel takes pride in being a visionary and innovative leader in the affordable housing industry.
The United States’ housing crisis has only increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began over a year ago. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s most recent report, the state of Mississippi needs more almost 43,000 more homes to meet demand.
The lack of home supply is extremely damaging to very low-income households living below Federal poverty guidelines. The Laurel Housing Authority continues to address the growing need through its mixed finance program where several projects are underway, including:
Triangle Homes – Final phase of construction for 124 two and three bedroom apartments.
Beacon Homes – In the final HUD approval phase to redevelop 78 one, two and three bedroom apartments.
The Housing Authority in partnership with the City of Laurel, Jones County, Laurel Main Street and The Jones County Economic Support Group, is in the preliminary phase to repurpose one of its existing buildings into a welcome center at the front entrance of Beacon Homes leading into the downtown area.
About the Laurel Housing Authority: Established in 1941, the Laurel Housing Authority provides housing assistance through a variety of programs, including Low-Income Public Housing for workforce and seniors, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. LHA is actively engaged in addressing the need for affordable housing through the acquisition of land parcels and considering future investments to meet the affordable housing needs of the Laurel, MS community and surrounding areas.