Call to Action: Say YES to #SmartHousingMix and NO to Segregationist Housing Policy

Tomorrow, the City Council will vote on directing the City Planning Commission to host a public hearing on existing multi-family and two-family dwellings that could detrimentally impact low-income homeowners and affordable housing developers. Small multi-family housing has historically created naturally occurring affordable housing in neighborhoods across New Orleans.  After Hurricane Katrina, exclusionary policies made these structures impossible to rebuild for nearly a decade. The motion would require that nearly all existing developments with more than four units go through conditional-use process in residentially zoned areas – even if they were multi-family before. This will create an unnecessary burden on affordable housing developers that will almost guarantee less affordable housing is built in high opportunity residential areas. The new motion considers excluding the opportunity to rebuild small multi-family housing all together in District A, ignoring that we need new housing options in every neighborhood.

We can address affordable housing with density through more units, like with the Smart Housing Mix. We must continue to rebuild affordable housing throughout the city of New Orleans and not just in certain areas. This approach proposed through this motion continues the economic and social isolation – racial segregation of the past.

Earlier this week you may have seen GNOHA’s response to President Trump’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. This new motion to the prevent multi-family housing is eerily similar to that of Trump’s reprehensible comments maligning the average working class New Orleanian.

We must #PutHousingFirst.

The New Orleans City Council will also be voting on the Smart Housing Mix Mapping process. The Smart Housing Mix will require, with incentives, that developers building more than 10 units in Strong and Core neighborhood set aside 5% and 10%, respectively, of their units to be affordable to families/individuals at 60% of the average median income. The ordinance was passed and this is the next step, determining which parts of the city will be Strong and Core neighborhoods. The City Planning Commission is currently recommending this map for the Smart Housing Mix to the New Orleans City Council:

While this is a great start, we believe that more of the city needs to be included in the map and strong areas should be expanded. The original recommendations for the study for the Smart Housing Mix included parts of Lakeview, Uptown, and the Garden District, with some of them missing from the current map. Based on a Market Value analysis done by the city, we believe these areas could and should still be included as strong neighborhoods to allow for more affordable housing in areas of opportunity. In the middle of a global health pandemic that has negatively impacted our economy and the President’s recent remarks supporting exclusionary policies and practices, we must #PutHousingFirst and ensure affordable housing is built throughout the city for the people of New Orleans.

WHEN: Thursday, August 20, 2020, beginning at 10am

WHERE: You can watch the live stream or Cox Cable Channel 6 in New Orleans

You can fill out a public comment here. Enter your information and select the item below – You will have to fill out an individual comment card for each item you wish to speak on.

Regular 05a. ZONING DOCKET NO. 31/20 – CITY COUNCIL MOTION NO. M-20-7

 “I urge you to support this zoning docket and motion, because it will #PutHousingFirst and brings us one step closer to implementing the Smart Housing Mix. I urge to expand the CORE and Strong neighborhoods to other parts of the city. The housing wage in New Orleans is $20.73 and more than half of renters are cost-burdened, we must ensure affordable housing is built throughout the city and this is just one of the needed tactics. You must #PutHousingFirst and #FixTheMix now.”  

Regular 59. MOTION – NO. M-20-251 – BY: COUNCILMEMBERS BANKS AND WILLIAMS

“Council members, as our city leaders I ask that you refrain from adopting exclusionary and segregationist policy. Preventing the creation of small multi-family housing developments in neighborhoods around the city not only hurts our chances for the development of naturally occurring affordable housing, but continues to put a strain on the prices of housing in key neighborhoods around the city. We need affordable housing throughout the city.”

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