The corporation was formed by Act 408 of the 2011 Louisiana Legislative Session. Signed by Governor Jindal this past August, the act consolidated the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency and housing programs from the Office of Community Development, Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Children and Family Services. The legislation’s goal was to consolidate the state’s housing programs under one roof, allowing for more efficient delivery of services, increased collaboration and streamlined state government.
Getting to the official launch date of July 1 has been led by the LHC Interim Executive Director Don Hutchinson and the newly appointed LHC Board of Directors. The corporation’s 11-member board is made up of the State Treasurer, six appointees from the Governor, two appointees from the President of the Senate and two appointees from the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The first members of the board were sworn in during January, allowing the LHC Board to formally begin oversight and management of the LHFA and the transition period. Michael Airhart, from Baton Rouge, was one of the Governor’s first appointments in January and was subsequently elected to be the first chairman. Mayor Mason Foster, another Governor appointee, was elected Vice-Chair. The board currently counts nine members. The final two members will come from the Senate President and House Speaker.
Don Hutchinson was appointed by the LHC Board in January to serve as Interim President of the LHFA as it wound down, and Interim Executive Director of the LHC as it ramped up. He recognizes and embraces the challenges and opportunities in coordinating the transition of so many programs to under one roof, while maintaining the day to day operations of a state agency that provides services to thousands of Louisianans. But, according to the man wearing two hats, the challenges have been met.
“This has been a large task, getting the Louisiana Housing Corporation ready to hit the ground running,” said Hutchinson. “But with the cooperation of the staffs from the various programs, our hard working board and our partners and stakeholders, I am confident in where we are headed.”
“And the transition does not end on July 1. We will continue to look at our programs and business practices to see where we can make improvements, increase efficiencies, and establish optimum staffing levels. We will also be seeking out new programs so that we can even better address the affordable housing needs of this state. The future is very promising.”
Over the coming days and weeks, there will be many physical changes associated with the launch of the new corporation. The new logo has already been released, a new website for public is coming soon, and the signs on the building will be updated. But one thing that won’t be changing is the corporation’s mission.
“Our mission will continue to be providing safe, decent, affordable housing opportunities to all of Louisiana,” said Hutchinson.