SMHA Promotes Prosperity for Rural Communities
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NeighborWorks America is celebrating its 35 anniversary this year. Its blog is highlighting its 35th Anniversary Celebration series, highlighting NeighborWorks affiliates which are celebrating milestone years marking either their membership in the network or their incorporation as an organization.
Click here for NeighborWorks America's blog appreciation of SMHA
Fisher Loan Fund
Sister Helen Vinton closing another honor loan to a crab fisher who lost most of her crab traps as a result of the unexpected strength from Hurricane Isaac.
Phi Lam came from Iowa to New Iberia in 1992 and goes to school when she is not crabbing. Phi supports her family through the hard work of crab fishing. Her mother and father are still in Viet Nam. Many honor loans have been made to fishers all over Louisiana to help them become more sustainable.
Southern Mutual Help Association (SMHA) is creating a Gulf Coast Fishers Loan Fund so shrimpers, fin fishers and crabbers have access to affordable capital. "Local and regional banks find it very difficult to lend to the fishing industry and related businesses. We need to set up a permanent financial structure that encourages local banks along the Gulf Coast to make loans to this very important segment of our American economy," says SMHA President and CEO, Lorna Bourg.
Recent SMHA News
Teche Ridge Loan Closed!
The West End of New Iberia is Moving Again!
West End WINS Great Places in Louisiana AWARD!
AARP's Livable Communities Council, the Center for Planning Excellence and the La. Lt. Governor's Office announced that The West End Redevelopment Initiative in New Iberia has been recognized as an Emerging Great Place-a new category in this year's 2011 Great Places in Louisiana awards, as the result of careful planning, strong partnerships, and an ambitious blueprint program to identify communities that have put plans in place to achieve increased mobility, diverse and affordable housing, supportive services and healthy living.
The annual awards program recognizes communities and community leaders who have pioneered new methods in planning, design, construction services and programs that make it possible to live in a community throughout a lifetime.
Click here for more details on this award announcement, and view the video below for a portrait of the project.
West End RedevelopmentVideo: West End, Hopkins Street. from Center for Rural Strategies on Vimeo.
SMHA's West End Redevelopment Initiative was launched in the Fall of 2008 in partnership with the City of New Iberia, LA, and a private donor who was born and raised in the district. Click here for details of this plan to revitalize a 600-acre district.
SMHA: A Passion for JusticeSince it was founded in 1969, Southern Mutual Help Association (SMHA) has helped people develop strong, healthy, prosperous rural communities in Louisiana. Our special focus is with distressed rural communities whose livelihoods are interdependent with our land and waters. We work primarily with agricultural and pervasively poor communities, women and people of color. We help build rural communities through people's growth in their own empowerment and the just management of resources.
SMHA's foundation was — and still is — our strong commitment to ending poverty and a passion for justice.
Spring 2011 FloodJuly 1, 2011 – Flood Update - Financial disaster to fishing families all along the Gulf Coast, still unrecovered from the Oil Spill
Animals were displaced and moved closer to towns. It is not uncommon to sight black bears, coyotes and deer in unusual areas.
The Morganza and Bonne Carre spillways have closed and flooding is subsiding.
Oysters and shrimp need salt water. The inundation of fresh water into some of Louisiana ’s richest oyster and shrimp areas along the coast, along with pollutants, fertilizers and pesticides that flow into the area has affected the quantity and safeness of seafood in some areas.
Many shrimp were swept away by excess water flowing out into the Gulf resulting in lower hauls for shrimpers. Some of the oyster beds are not able to survive the change of salinity and additional pollutants. To re-establish the oyster life cycle from infancy to harvesting age will take 18-24 months.
Spring 2011 Flood· Morganza spillway gates unlocked for the first time in 38 years
· Approximately 25,000 people and 11,000 buildings could be affected
· 3,000 square miles could be under water from 5 - 25 feet
· The Atchafalaya Basin , a nature's treasure of hunting, fishing, frogging, crabbing, recreation, camping, waterfowl, large game, trapping, nature based tourism and birding was named by LSU as the number one recreational fishing destination in Louisiana , with fertile farmland, lakes and wildlife management areas
· 1,400 commercial fishermen depend on the Basin and access to roads, landings and docks will be affected
· Livestock have been relocated
What will we see after the water recedes?
Restoration will be critical as we are still rebounding from 4 major hurricanes. Millions of fish stocked may be lost. Habitats must be restored. People and families will need immediate help.
A response on many levels will be required.
In this era of metro-centric public policy and deliberate development through focused funding, rural communities have one more reason to call for a more balanced and integrated approach – one that respects the irreplaceable value, and importance of rural America in our nation's prosperity.
We'll keep you updated on the flooding impact on Louisiana's rural communities.
Livelihood, Tradition, and Culture at Risk
Click here to learn more, including how you can help
SMHA Executive Director Lorna Bourg has composed a series of open letters to the President of the United States regarding this event. Click here to read these letters.
Teche Ridge: Affordable Housing, Traditional Neighborhood Design
SMHA's $150 million Teche Ridge development is designed to change the face of affordable housing in the Acadiana region of Louisiana by integrating affordable units among market-rate units in such a way that the affordable homes are indistinguishable from the homes surrounding them.
Click here to visit the Teche Ridge web site.
SMHA's ProgramsSouthern Mutual Help's work is clustered in two broad areas: Building Rural Communities and Life Quality. Although listed as separate program areas, SMHA's work is holistic and interrelated. Programs and initiatives are intertwined, building upon, supporting, and reinforcing each other. All are programs designed to help people help themselves and provide on-ramps to the economic mainstream.
Click here to learn more about SMHA's programs
Contact UsSouthern Mutual Help Association, Inc.
3602 Old Jeanerette Road
New Iberia, LA 70563
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