Marrero Commons and the Section 3 monitoring process has sparked national attention and commendation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Marrero Commons received praise from HANO’s Executive Director, David Gilmore at their last Board Meeting with HANO Executives, STAND, and community members. Mr. Gilmore commented that KBK Enterprises was complying with all HUD regulations and doing very well in exceeding their Section 3 requirements. The Secretary of HUD also agreed by stating that “KBK has had the largest Section 3 participation numbers in the country for a project of this size.”
Perhaps the most poignant remarks came from Marrero Commons resident Duane Shelly at a HUD press conference, who actively engaged KBK as it developed the Section 3 program. “When I started this program I didn’t know how to read a tape measure. I always thought of myself as smart, but I couldn’t read a tape measure! Now, because of the Section 3 program I can drive a Bobcat, read blueprints, read a tape measure and do other things that will help me to keep a job and be productive for my community.”
Donna Johnigan, President of the BW Cooper Resident Management Corporation, who also attended the press conference praised the success of KBK’s Section 3 Program, led by The KBK Foundation, and the fact that when everyone came together to work for the common good of Marrero Commons residents, the residents were the real winners. In addition, at the press conference in New Orleans, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, John Trasviña, also pointed out that New Orleans was the perfect city to launch the Section 3 Business Registry Pilot Program. This was due to the recent success that New Orleans has had in promoting the hiring of Section 3 residents and the businesses that they own.
The Registry offers a searchable database that contractors can use to locate Section 3 businesses to increase contracting opportunities. In his remarks, HUD Region VI Administrator Don Babers specifically noted the Section 3 success of KBK Enterprises at Marrero Commons. “Because of committed businesses like KBK and Keith B. Key,” said Babers, “we see how Section 3 can help our public housing residents.” Addressing the standing room only crowd, KBK Enterprises CEO and President Keith B. Key noted that as a “kid from public housing” it is important to his company to go beyond the goals of Section 3 requirements. “Not only do our numbers bear out that Section 3 residents are working but you can actually see it at Marrero Commons.”