From Affordable Housing News: A Leading force in Affordable Housing Developments

From Affordable Housing News

Nonprofit development company creates opportunity through affordable housing in Louisiana and beyond

Since 2000, nonprofit developer Partners Southeast (formerly Partners for Progress) has developed and operated affordable properties in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. What began as the development arm of the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority is now a leading force in affordable housing development. Partners creates mixed-income communities that rival their market-rate counterparts and provide quality, attainable places for families and seniors to live in and grow. Since taking the helm as CEO in 2018, J. Daniels has reshaped the trajectory of the organization, giving it better standing in the development community and positioning it for growth throughout the region. Partners currently has a portfolio of 500 apartments, but its pipeline totals 1,000 units—$250 million in development over the next three years. It’s seeking opportunities throughout the Southeast, with plans for expansion into Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. The future the company faces today is poised to set a great example for other minority business enterprises (MBEs) in the industry and make a tremendous impact on the lives of its residents and partners.

“Not to say that [Partners] wasn’t a great company when we came on, but what I immediately saw was the opportunity to really expand its activities. That is what led to the overall repositioning of the company as it relates to the branding and renaming of the company, the geographical expansion strategy, and the aggressive portfolio growth that we projected,” Daniels says. “Going back to 2017, continually judging and benchmarking our progress, I am most proud of that direction and embracing all of those things that came through the repositioning of the company and to see where we are now.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is core to Partners’ mission in the affordable housing space. Every Partners development begins by exploring how to ensure both the residents and larger community will benefit equitably.

“Many developers aren’t as mission-based as we are,” Daniels says. “The industry in many ways has been commodified, so they build a development and they’re only worried about putting people in a unit without understanding the impact quality housing has when families are facing challenges in their lives. We have a different mission. And that’s not only transformation of the neighborhood but also transformation of the families.”

One of the core components of Partners’ mission execution is resident services—what Daniels refers to as “investments in their families.” The company promotes a vast array of opportunities to residents, from education and scholarships to transportation, health, and wellness, to workforce development. “Access” is the keyword the Partners team strives to achieve.

“If you look at the path of success that you and I have achieved… someone invested in us….And I think, sometimes, when we look at our families who are living in our communities, somehow we believe they’re not deserving of that same investment,” Daniels says. “So, when our families reside in our communities, we make sure they have access to those things that help them improve their quality of life.”

Partners is also committed to investing in the greater community. This happens by building properties to market- rate standards to both combat NIMBYism and create resident pride. The team is also intentional about who they’re bringing into each community and the effects those residents can have on each other.

For example, the company’s recent development in Baton Rouge, Cypress Pinchback, offers 99 units to seniors in a neighborhood that has been affected by disinvestment and crime. By bringing wise leaders and mixed-income households to the area, Daniels hopes the community can strengthen its intergenerational bonds and benefit in the long term.

Even the community’s name was intentional. The original name, Cypress at Gardere, reflected a plantation owner in Louisiana’s history. Partners changed the name to honor P.B.S. Pinchback, the first Black governor of Louisiana, and to provide the community an aspirational model.

Partners’ DEI efforts go far beyond its residents. As an MBE itself, the company is committed to extending opportunities to other MBEs, both to create equity for its partners and to ensure each development team reflects the diversity of the communities they serve. As with its resident-focused efforts, Partners puts intentionality at the forefront when selecting team members and industry partners. On Cypress Pinchback, the construction team created a majority minority joint venture.

“Once you begin to create inclusion and equity within these structures, then in many cases, you begin to open up a market to where a lot of the [misperceptions] are dispelled, relationships are created, and those individuals who are willingly at the table begin to see the greater opportunity that exists by having this type of partnership,” Daniels says. “And in rooms and spaces that were once exclusive, you now can bring in partners.”

Daniels’ belief is that this intentionality can have a ripple effect in every community, ultimately impacting more people and creating more opportunities for everyone in the space.

“We are not carving up the pie. We are creating a bigger pie,” he says. “When I’m able to lay out our development pipeline—1,000 units, $250 million, over the next three years—wow, that’s the bigger pie. Now, our potential partners and stakeholders are more willing and more accepting of creating meaningful and sustainable relationships that allow us to collectively execute these deals. And it has worked well up until this point, so we want to continue that.”

-J. Daniels


Janelle Brown Named Chief Operating Officer of Partners Southeast


For More Information: Otey White at 225-907-6839 or Angela deGravelles at 225-202-5073

Partners Southeast has promoted Janelle Brown to Chief Operating Officer from the Interim Chief Operating Officer position she has held since June 2022. Partners Southeast is a housing developer in the Greater Baton Rouge area focusing on strategic investments in people, neighborhoods, and housing, seamlessly mixing market-rate and affordable units and creating vibrant and diverse communities.

Brown will continue as Senior Vice President and Choice Neighborhood Initiative Director for Partners Southeast’s sister organization, the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority (EBRPHA).

“I am excited to take on this role as COO for PSE. I look forward to bringing my knowledge in real estate development, community revitalization, and enthusiasm for change to the exciting work that is happening at Partners,” Brown said.

J. Wesley Daniels, CEO of the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority and Partner Southeast, announced that the promotion was effective on January 1, 2023.

Daniels stated, “Janelle’s breadth of experience, leadership, and hard work made the decision to elevate her to COO an easy one. I look forward to her continuing her excellent work in the years to come and working with her as a valued colleague at Partners Southeast.”


For the past 20 years, Partners Southeast has sought to use housing as a vehicle to make measurable impacts in Education, Economic Opportunities, and Health & Wellness in communities throughout the Southeast. Partners Southeast provides and develops quality housing opportunities for individuals and families while promoting self-sufficiency and neighborhood revitalization. Focusing on strategic investments in People, Neighborhoods and Housing, seamlessly mixing market-rate and affordable units, creating vibrant and diverse communities. For more info on Partners Southeast, Call: 225.923.8112

The East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority was founded in the 1930s to serve the needs of the low-income citizens of the parish. The housing authority impacts more than 14,000 low-income individuals and families, seniors, disabled, and US veterans in the capital region. Learn more about EBRPHA at The agency can be reached at 225-923-8100.



Partners Southeast buys Mid City medical building for $2.5M

Partners Southeast has purchased a medical services building on North Boulevard for $2.53 million from Arthur Tolar’s company 4550 North Boulevard LLC.

Read More


LHC Board Approves $210 Million to Develop Multifamily Rental Properties

Louisiana Housing Corporation Board of Directors Meeting Recap


LHC’s Board of Directors approved $210 million to develop 731 affordable rental units across four Louisiana parishes.

This investment represents a combination of LHC’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and Mortgage Revenue Bonds (MRBs).

The approved developments represent a mix of new construction projects that aim to assist working families, households with children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

The Multifamily Mortgage Revenue Bond program uses tax-exempt bonds to provide below-market-rate loans to developers who set aside a certain percentage of their apartment units for low-income families. The bonds are leveraged with private equity from 10-year 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).

The LHC Board approved the following projects for final approval of bond sale:

  • Bayou D’Arbonne Retirement Village – Ouachita Parish
    $10M MRB, $6.3M LIHTC, 76 units
  • Cypress at Ardendale Phase I – East Baton Rouge Parish 
    $42M MRB, $3.1 LIHTC, 170 units
  • Cypress Court – Tangipahoa Parish
    $7.5M MRB, $4.6M LIHTC, 55 units
  • Federal City – Building 10 – Orleans Parish 
    $18M MRB, $5.8M LIHTC, 70 units 

The LHC Board approved the following project for new construction: 

  • The Reserve at Joor Place – East Baton Rouge Parish  
    $74M MRB, $41M LIHTC, 360 units 

LHC board approves $45M for Baton Rouge housing project 

Visit Greater Baton Rouge Business Report to read the article.


EBR Housing Authority grows concerned as affordable housing gets harder to find

Originally published by BR Pround

Affordable housing is getting harder to find, and that has the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority concerned. Experts say not enough houses are being built. Meanwhile, with higher interest rates, fewer people are buying and selling homes.

“You’ll probably pay two to three hundred more in your monthly mortgage for the same house. Just because of the rise in interest rates. So yeah, it’s pushing the affordable rate out the window,” said Leo Desselle, Pennant Real Estate owner.

It’s putting a strain on residents looking for affordable housing. East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority CEO J. Wesley Daniels, Jr. said people are staying in assisted housing for longer than usual so those apartments can’t be turned over to help new applicants as quickly.

“It has taken a segment and a group of families and made housing unaffordable because of the increase in mortgage rates because of that. Now they have to continue to live in multifamily housing or rental housing,” said Daniels.

Some renters have been waiting months, some years, for help from the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority.

“And by like a year to two years before we get to where we need to be, you know, is everything you need, is a good thing to have when you got over two or three children,” explained Robert Bradley, a Baton Rouge resident.


North Baton Rouge to get first single-family dwelling after 45 years

Originally published by BR Pround

Two years ago, the Elm Grove Gardens apartment complex was in such bad shape it got the nickname ‘Nightmare on Elm Street.’ Families had to be relocated and all of the units were boarded up.

Now, the plan is to rebuild from scratch and in 18 months more than 80 families will be able to move back to a much safer and new apartment complex.

“There has not been a single-family dwelling in over 45 years in this community,” said Chauna Banks, District 2 East Baton Rouge Metro-Councilwoman.

The East Baton Rouge Housing Authority (EBRHA) is teaming up with the city and nonprofit Banyan to redevelop the property now named Capstone at Scotlandville.

The $23 million project will house 84 families.

Banyan is a nonprofit organization helping fund the project. President and CEO Rob Coach said the location promises opportunity.


Ardendale-anchored north Baton Rouge neighborhoods up for $30M HUD grant

Originally published by Baton Rouge Business Report

The north Baton Rouge community anchored by the Ardendale urban village is among four national finalists up for a $30 million U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development grant.

On Feb. 20, HUD officials will visit the site—which includes the East Fairfield, Smiley Heights and Melrose East neighborhoods—to get a better understanding of Baton Rouge’s transformation plan for the community, which is being reimagined as an “urban creative village.”

“They’ll already see significant investment from the private sector,” says J. Daniels, director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority. “We want to highlight those different instances, like the Career and Technical Education Center and the Automotive Collision Training Center.

The $30 million would go toward gap financing for housing, funding assistance for neighborhood organizations like 100 Black Men and the YWCA, and development of an early childhood center, Daniels says. Some money would also be used to create loan funds for businesses that relocate to the area.

It’s likely Baton Rouge, as one of just four finalists, will receive a grant: Congress allocated $145 million for the Fiscal Year 2018 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants and those are maxed out at $30 million per community.

Baton Rouge was narrowed down from 32 applicants. Other finalists include the housing authorities and cities of Omaha, Nebraska; Newport News, Virginia; and Norfolk, Virginia.

EBRPHA, along with the City of Baton Rouge and the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, are working with more than 60 neighborhood, local, state and federal partners to restore vibrancy in the historically blighted area.

The $30 million grant would be leveraged to spur an estimated $335.5 million in further investment, Daniels says.

HUD will announce grant winners in March.


FY2018 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants Competition Finalists Identified

Originally published by U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has identified four applicants as finalists to compete for FY2018 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants to transform public and/or other HUD-assisted housing, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.  The entities below, selected from a pool of 32 applicants, will compete for individual grants of up to $30 million.  HUD anticipates announcing awards in March 2019.

Finalists – Lead Applicant / Co-Applicant(s) (if applicable)

  • City of Omaha, Nebraska / Omaha Housing Authority

  • Housing Authority of East Baton Rouge / City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  • Newport News Redevelopment and Housing Authority / City of Newport News, Virginia

  • Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority / City of Norfolk, Virginia 

Next Steps for Finalists:

In the coming weeks, a HUD team will visit the targeted housing and neighborhoods to meet with the applicants and partners to get a clear understanding of their individual Transformation Plans.  The HUD teams will ensure the applicants are committed and capable of implementing the neighborhood transformation as described in their application.  Therefore, being selected as a finalist is not an indication of a grant award.

Site visits are part of HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant application review process to determine which of the finalists are most competitive.  Opening the site visits to the public or revealing the location of the targeted housing or neighborhood at this stage is not permitted under the statute governing HUD’s process to award competitive grants.  Following the visits, HUD may request that applicants respond to technical clarification questions.

How Finalists Were Selected:

These finalists were ranked on how well their vision, capacity, and need addressed Choice Neighborhoods’ three core goals:

  • Housing: Replace distressed public and assisted housing with high-quality mixed-income housing that is well-managed and responsive to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood;

  • People: Improve outcomes of households living in the target housing related to employment and income, health, and children’s education; and

  • Neighborhood: Create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods to offer the kinds of amenities and assets, including safety, good schools, and commercial activity, that are important to families’ choices about their community.

Finalists were determined based upon information submitted to HUD by the application deadline of September 17, 2018.  HUD has conducted a two-tier process for reviewing FY2018 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation applications: (1) application screening and (2) preliminary rating and ranking.  In the application screening stages, HUD screened each application to determine that it met the NOFA’s key eligibility criteria, did not contain technical deficiencies, and met all threshold criteria (listed in Section III.C).  Applications that passed the application screening stage moved to the rating and ranking stage.  The preliminary rating and ranking tier involves two stages of rating review.  A Stage 1 rating review was conducted in which HUD evaluated the applications based on the Capacity and Need rating factors.  Applications that scored sufficient points in the Stage 1 rating review moved to Stage 2 rating review, where HUD evaluated applications based on the Strategy (Neighborhood, Housing, and People) and Soundness of Approach rating factors.  The applicants that were selected as finalists met all of the NOFA’s eligibility criteria, demonstrated strong capacity, and have developed a transformation that addresses the three core goals of Choice Neighborhoods.

Applications Not Selected for Funding:

HUD has notified the 28 applications that were not selected for funding.  Such applications were either (1) void or ineligible submissions, (2) did not meet threshold criteria in Section III.C of the NOFA, or (3) did not score sufficient points to be selected as a finalist.

If an application did not meet all threshold criteria, HUD has provided a detailed letter to the Lead Applicant and Co-Applicant fully describing the threshold criteria and failure(s).  As the application was not rated, this letter constitutes the debriefing.  For applications that were rated (either only in Stage 1 or both Stage 1 and 2), HUD has provided the applicants with a copy of the score earned for each rating factor that was reviewed.  HUD will offer debriefings for these applications as soon as the competition concludes, beginning no later than April 2019.


Redevelopment of former Earl K. Long site plodding forward

Originally published by Baton Rouge Business Report

Four months into its funding search, officials hoping to transform the former site of the Earl K. Long Hospital are in the middle of securing partnerships with three prospective anchor tenants.

In September, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority Acting CEO J. Wesley Daniels—who, along with State Sen. Regina Barrow, are working on the redevelopment initiative—told Daily Report they were beginning a funding search that would take approximately 120 days.

But the trio hasn’t met since then. Instead, the EBRPHA and Partners Southeast have taken the lead on the project, which Daniels estimates could cost anywhere from $6 million to $9 million. The housing authority is acting as the transaction facilitator, while Partners Southeast is working on the financing.

The partners—which Daniels declines to name, but notes represent institutions of “education, economic development and health and wellness”—would eventually anchor the 15-acre site on Airline Highway.

“We’re still in discussions with them right now,” he says. “They all have different funding and grant cycles, so we’re making sure we’re cued up with those.”

As envisioned, the development would include a health center, day care center, educational center, job training facility, restaurants and housing, among other features.

He’s also been talking with different financial institutions, figuring out the best ways to leverage the area’s recent Opportunity Zone designation to attract investors. The development should also lend itself to New Market Tax Credit opportunities, he says.

As for Partners Southeast getting a developer to sign onto the project as a joint venture partner?

“That’s a secondary priority,” Daniels says. “Our main priority is getting these partners who will represent the anchor. We want to remain committed to the spirit of what the community has expressed.”

Year Completed

Planned Fall 2022


Senior | Units: 99


Integral Property Management



Cypress at Pinchback

501 Gardere Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70810

Located behind St. Jude off Highland Road, close to great shopping and restaurants this tranquil and modern new construction community offers modern one- and two-bedroom apartments for seniors 62 years and older. Apartments are ADA compliant and come with a dishwasher and washer and dryer hook-up. Amenities include an exercise room, computer room, elevators, community room, walking trail, community garden, small gathering/reading rooms on each floor and social, health, wellness, and educational activities programmed for active seniors.