Since it was founded in 1931, St. Margaret’s has fulfilled its mission to provide exceptional long-term care to the poor, frail, and elderly population. The non-profit nursing home is located on the grounds of a hospital in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, a community with a poverty rate of 36% that badly needs the care St. Margaret’s is able to provide.
When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, the hospital suffered extensive flood damage. The damage was so severe that the hospital never reopened. St. Margaret’s had no choice but to find a new site. Unfortunately, FEMA disaster relief funding pays for reconstruction, but does not pay for organizations to purchase new land; therefore, St. Margaret’s had nowhere to turn in their quest to continue fulfilling their mission of service and care.
In 2009 CBO’s subsidiary Community Development Funding was able to provide $11.3 million in New Markets Tax Credit Financing so St. Margaret’s could purchase land and then combine the funding with FEMA reconstruction funds to build an entirely new facility. The new center opened its doors in 2012, and now employs 145 people with medical and retirement benefits. Of these, 60% were formerly low-income people, and 97% are minorities.
More important even than the jobs CDF was able to create and save are the people who are cared for at St. Margaret’s. In 2014 there were 29,270 total resident days, of which nearly 100% were people on Medicaid. In 2013, JB Morgan Chase donated $350,000 to fund the development of the Team Gleason House for Innovative Living, a residential facility within St. Margaret’s which serves patients living with incurable neuromuscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
CDF is very proud to have helped bring St. Margaret’s eight-year search for recovery from Hurricane Katrina to such a positive conclusion, and to provide service to the distressed community of the Lower 9th Ward.