People of Parc

Dave is a real estate professional and knows the local market very well. He spent a lot of time searching for a new rental until he discovered Columbia Parc. He and his family love living here. Between the pool, splash park, and playground, his kids are never bored. Dave’s favorite time of day is in the evening when he and his family gather on the front porch to trade stories about their day or visit with neighbors who stop by.

Amira and her daughter, Shayla were touring Columbia Parc at the same time that Lynn Cassell, President of Property Management, from Columbia Residential’s Atlanta office was visiting. Lynn had the pleasure of meeting them, and was quite touched when Shayla told her that all she wanted was a nice, safe place for her and her mother. Shayla got her wish, and she and her mother couldn’t be happier.

Ernest, a 62-year-old former St. Bernard resident, was reluctant to pursue an apartment at Columbia Parc. He did not believe former residents like himself, lacking proof of income or a birth certificate, would be eligible to lease a new apartment.

As it turned out, Ernest was in the top tier of eligibility. He was assigned a caseworker with Kingsley House, the Community Supportive Services Provider; however, because Ernest had no phone or reliable means of contact, communication was a challenge. To help Ernest, his caseworker visited his home to relay messages in person or left notes on his door.

In November, 2009, Ernest began receiving pension payments, but still believed rumors that he would not qualify. Learning about his concerns, his case worker met with him several more times and urged him to contact Columbia Parc so that he could learn what his options were.

The caseworker assisted in scheduling Ernest’s appointments at Columbia Parc and also helped him obtain the necessary documentation, such as proof of income and birth certificate. She provided ongoing encouragement and support during their meetings. At the second meeting with Columbia Parc staff, Ernest learned what his rent would be and was ecstatic! He was so thankful that his caseworker listened to his concerns and helped him with the application process. Ernest signed the lease and received the keys to his new home in April, 2010.

Greg is a doctor who recently moved from Minnesota to New Orleans to set up his medical practice. He and his wife, Katie, a public relations representative, live comfortably and can certainly afford to be particular about where they live. They chose to make their home at Columbia Parc. No other community offered the same abundance and quality of design features and amenities. Katie says that the kitchen was beyond her expectations and is inspired to learn how to use it for more than re-heating – she comes from a family of “microwavers”. Greg likes the well-thought design of the floorplans.

Even though Colette was not a former resident of the St. Bernard development, she still attended nearly all of the pre-leasing information meetings that were held at nearby Asia Baptist Church. It was obvious that she was committed to being a member of the new community and willing to be patient for residences to be constructed. Colette and her family love living at Columbia Parc. She says that her beautiful home and neighborhood were worth the wait.

Tanya grew up in the New Orleans metro area. She and her family are former St. Bernard residents, having lived there since 1993. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Tanya and her husband evacuated to Tylertown, Mississippi, but it wasn’t “home” and they moved back to New Orleans in early 2008. They faced many challenges and financial hardships due to limited housing availability and the rising cost of rent in post-Katrina New Orleans. Eventually, the family settled into the Iberville Housing Development in October, 2008.

A Kingsley House caseworker began making contact with Tanya in July, 2009 after the death of her husband. During their first meeting, Tanya was reluctant to accept the various services available to her through the Community Supportive Services Program provided by Kingsley House. It was during later meetings that she shared more of her concerns and how overwhelmed she was by the difficulties she was experiencing with her disability benefits application.

The caseworker scheduled a special visit to assist Tanya with her SSI application and discovered that the medical documentation had not been submitted. After this was completed, Tanya began receiving benefits in March, 2010.

In April, 2010, Tanya applied for a residence at Columbia Parc. Thanks to her efforts in collaboration with her caseworker, Tanya’s paperwork was in order and she was approved. She moved into her new Columbia Parc home in June, 2010.

Last year, at the end of a full shift as a sanitation truck driver, Tony’s coworkers noticed that his speech was slurred and called 911. While in the emergency room, 40-year-old Tony suffered a stroke that affected the right side of his body. He worked hard throughout several months of rehabilitation that included speech therapy, physical therapy, and re-learning skills that he now performs left-handed. Tony’s family was extremely helpful during his recovery. They assisted him with applications for various disability programs, but he is a very self-reliant man and was determined to maintain as much of his independence as possible.

It was during this time that Tony learned about Columbia Parc. He started receiving disability income that enabled him to qualify for one of the new residences. Caseworkers at Kingsley House assisted him with furnishings for his apartment and also helped him secure a part-time job offer at Columbia Parc.

While Tony was grateful for the offer, he declined the position at Columbia Parc and instead enrolled in a program with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services. There, he’s learning specific skills designed to enhance his career possibilities and assist with his daily living activities.

Tony is thankful for the support and encouragement he has received. He moved into Columbia Parc in the spring of 2010 and is proud of his ability to live independently and with confidence.

Carla moved from Shreveport to New Orleans to be closer to her company’s regional office. She’s a successful sales rep who works mostly from home. Her income gives her the freedom to live anywhere in the city, but she selected Columbia Parc. “When you spend so much time in one place, living and working, cabin fever can set in, but I absolutely love this apartment.” Carla has a 2nd bedroom set up as her office and the sound resistant construction makes it easy for her to concentrate. When she’s ready for a break, she enjoys the community’s activities and getting to know more of her new neighbors.

After Margaret retired due to medical reasons, she and her two adult children decided to leave Ohio and return home to Louisiana. She used the Internet to search for apartments in New Orleans and was thrilled to find Columbia Parc. Thanks to the extensive website, she learned all she needed to know about the community and its offerings. Margaret was among the first residents. In fact, she leased her unit via the Internet before she even left Ohio.

Sharise is a single mother and former St. Bernard resident. When first contacted about moving into Columbia Parc, she was very skeptical because of rumors that were circulating about the new community. She was also hesitant because she thought the rent would not be affordable.

Sharise’s Kingsley House caseworker first began assisting her by asking her to list all of her concerns on paper. They went through the list together, and Sharise was given information and resources for each item. They also discussed the rumors Sharise had heard about Columbia Parc’s rules. After hearing the accurate details, Sharise understood that the rules had been overly exaggerated and that they were, in fact, put in place for the residents’ safety. She also realized that Columbia Parc was not going to be just a re-named St. Bernard development, but rather a whole new community environment.

At this time, Sharise was really excited about Columbia Parc, so she scheduled a tour. She was amazed by the beautiful homes, the free amenities, and all that the community had to offer to her and her daughter. She was so motivated to move in that she completed an application immediately.

Sharise became a Columbia Parc resident in the spring of 2010. She says she feels blessed by the changes in her life since moving in and has a whole new outlook. She really appreciates the Community Support Services provided by Kingsley House and has attended several helpful workshops and seminars that are held just steps away from her door. They have given her a wealth of information and have inspired her to pursue additional education so that she can enhance her career options.

Rob is a member of the military who recently transferred to New Orleans from overseas. His income allows him nearly unlimited options for an apartment, but while visiting Columbia Parc, he knew he’d found his new home. “Everyone here is so nice and friendly. That’s a welcome change after being out of the States for so long.” Another thing Rob likes is all the space. He was used to living in cramped base housing and his one-bedroom apartment is huge by comparison. When he’s not on duty, Rob likes to go for runs at City Park or workout in the fitness center. He also enjoys the relaxing outdoor space of his balcony.

Tracy had been living in a shelter for two years and was determined to finally get a place of her own. She worked hard to complete a job training program that enabled her to re-enter the workforce. Her persistence and effort were rewarded. Tracy now proudly supports herself and lives in a beautiful new apartment home at Columbia Parc.

Sophia, a former St. Bernard resident, relocated to Texas after Hurricane Katrina. A Kingsley House caseworker contacted Sophia in July, 2009 to discuss moving back to her neighborhood. Sophia was excited by the idea, but also very skeptical that Columbia Parc would be able to live up to its expectations.

Despite her doubts, Sophia went through the application process. She was approved for one of the new residences, but still had concerns about her ability to afford rent and utilities. She was also worried about her safety. Sophia had lived in several places, but never felt safe in any of them. As a 67-year-old woman living alone, security is a primary concern for her.

Her caseworker assured Sophia that Columbia Parc was working with HANO to calculate an affordable rent. She also eased Sophia’s concerns about safety by explaining the security measures that Columbia Parc had provided. There are controlled-access gates, security cameras, and each unit is equipped with its own alarm system.

Sophia moved into her Columbia Parc home in May, 2010. During a visit with her caseworker the following week, she could not stop talking about how glad she was to be living there and how safe she finally feels. She is often seen around the community and participates in many activities. She is also interested in starting an on-site senior program.

Ty and his younger brother and sister lost their mother in December, 2009, and there was a danger of the siblings, ages 19, 18, and 16, being separated. As the oldest, Ty was awarded custody of his sister. Since both of the brothers are employed (one is in the military), their combined income allows them to afford the rent at Columbia Parc so that the family can be independent and stay together.

Lorraine is a full-time housekeeper and 40-year-old single mother of three boys. When approached with the opportunity to move into Columbia Parc, she was excited and highly motivated to get the process started.

One of the qualifications for residence at Columbia Parc is that all adults must be employed. However, Lorraine’s 18-year-old son did not have a job. Kingsley House invited him to attend a Job Readiness seminar, which would help him prepare for interviews and provide job leads. Lorraine’s son quickly obtained employment at a local restaurant.

Lorraine’s next task was to save for the application fee. She needed $35 for each adult resident, and was determined to save something from her paycheck every two weeks until she had the full $105. Knowing that it could take a while for Lorraine to save, the caseworkers at Kingsley House worked with a local church to obtain a donation for Lorraine’s family.

With all of the qualifications met, Lorraine completed the application process and was approved for a residence at Columbia Parc. She and her sons moved into their new home in March of 2010.