HousingNOLA Releases 2020 Report Card on State of Affordable Housing in New Orleans
City of New Orleans Receives Failing Grade
NEW ORLEANS – Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020 – New Orleans is wildly failing when it comes to providing and maintaining stable housing for its residents. The city earned a “F” letter grade on the HousingNOLA 2020 Annual Report Card on the state of affordable housing. The report card grades the progress of HousingNOLA’s 10-Year Plan, including whether elected officials, lenders, policy makers, developers and city and state housing agencies have delivered on their commitments to provide affordable housing.
In 2016, the City of New Orleans committed to creating 7,500 affordable housing opportunities by the end of 2020 (Housing for a Resilient New Orleans). As of August 31, 2020, they have only netted 1,557. This, combined with the failure to implement the Smart Housing Mix, discuss the Healthy Homes Ordinance (Rental Registry), secure tax relief for homeowners, continue to decrease homelessness and a myriad of other shortcomings combined with the net loss of affordable housing opportunities for the third year in a row, has earned New Orleans a “F” for the first time in the history of the planning process.
“We are now at the half-way mark of the 10-year plan, and the lack of progress is mind-boggling,” said Andreanecia Morris, HousingNOLA Executive Director. “Our leaders have the plan they need for success, they just aren’t following it. And now we’re in an even bigger mess because the demand for housing is even greater. And while the COVID-19 Pandemic has shined an even brighter light on the need for affordable housing, this isn’t just a COVID problem, this is a long-term affordability crisis that we can no longer ignore.”
Once again, HousingNOLA and its partners are calling on state officials, including the Governor and state legislators, to take the steps necessary to solve our affordable housing crisis. Lawmakers need to make it a priority to appropriate emergency housing funding to ensure everyone has a place to live while we navigate the COVID-19 crisis by utilizing the following sources:
- Savings from the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) need to be allocated for reentry housing programs
- Expand the Main Street Program so small landlords can apply for rental assistance and continue to house their tenants
- Restructure the State Housing Trust fund so it provides support for housing projects AND addresses disasters
- Clear the backlog of rental assistance and immediately distribute the funding in order to demonstrate that Louisiana needs and is capable of managing federal funds
We are calling on our Mayor and City Council to make the following #PutHousingFirst policies a priority:
- Implement the Smart Housing Mix in January 2021 and create incentives for projects with 10 units or less
- End source of income discrimination and support HANO in finding landlords for its voucher holders
- Enact the health homes ordinance (aka Rental Registry)
- Revise production goals and report on progress
- Identify funding to support vulnerable populations that cannot be aided by COVID-19 funding (essential workers making minimum wage, households on fixed incomes, homeless and the formerly incarcerated)
The organization also revised its Demand Model due to the changes in the market and to account for increased need because of COVID-19. HousingNOLA’s analysis found that 13,962 households will need some form of assistance to maintain their housing during the pandemic (6,625 renters and 7,337 homeowners).
The long-term need is complicated by the city’s high vacancy rate. Annually, there is a need to create over 18,000 housing opportunities. Although most of that need could be met with now vacant units (particularly those in high opportunity areas) if subsidies could be provided or the prices were lowered.
The data found in the report card also confirms that New Orleans’ population continues to stagnate, a trend has that consequences – weakening the city and making it unable to disasters and pandemics. If New Orleans wants to grow equitably and sustainably while maintaining affordability, it should examine reversing displacement effects. There are approximately 99,380 employees who commute to New Orleans for work but do not live within city limits. Of these, approximately 55,951 are working class households who simply cannot afford New Orleans’ sky-high housing costs and were likely pushed out of the city over the last 15 years.
Click to read the full HousingNOLA 2020 Annual Report Card.
Click to watch this morning’s Zoom Press Conference
ABOUT HOUSING NOLA:
HousingNOLA is a 10-year partnership between the community, leaders, and dozens of public, private, and nonprofit organizations working to solve New Orleans’ affordable housing crisis by implementing the 10-Year Strategy and Implementation Plan. Rather than just being a written document, HousingNOLA is an ongoing initiative to collectively remind New Orleans and its elected officials of the issues we face and our pledge to maintain a plan of action. Data indicates the need for 33,600 additional affordable units in the city by 2025 and the data clearly shows that wages have not come close to mirroring the dramatic rise in housing costs. It’s our job to hold our leaders accountable to the recommendations we make in HousingNOLA.
Learn more at www.HousingNOLA.org