Black Developer Terrica Smith Went from Homeless to Building Affordable Housing

As a black woman in her mid-30s, Terrica Smith has cleared many hurdles to accomplish a number of major feats. She is the owner of Cachet Real Estate and a managing partner for Salt Capital Equity Group. Smith is also bringing her dream to life with the Madeline Cove project, a housing development that will provide 30 affordable homes, 60 townhouses, a 50-unit senior complex, and a retail building, according to The Acadiana Advocate.

The purpose of the project is to satisfy the housing needs of New Orleans’s north side. This project, backed by a local bank, already has a waiting list of more than 300 people. According to The Acadiana Advocate, the structure will include “the senior center, featuring 50 living units that will each be 500-600 square feet” and a “retail center, which will feature up to five spaces for light retail, a coffee shop or maybe a grocery store.”

Smith’s journey was a difficult one. She was a foster child who ended up aging out of the foster care system when she turned 16. Afterward, she was homeless on the streets of New Orleans.

“My mentor was being homeless,” Smith said. “It was the scariest moment of my life because people are pulling on you, trying to attack you. It’s not safe. You can’t sleep. I made a promise to my son under that bridge: As long as I had air in my lungs, I would never be homeless again.”

But Smith turned her life around, taking a leap of faith from living under the Claiborne overpass to visiting the White House, where along with other leaders and various business officials, she spoke about New Orleans’s progress with the project and Opportunity Zone program.