CALL-TO-ACTION: SUPPORT SMALL MULTI-FAMILY AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 – City Council will be voting on ZD 084/21, or the Small Multi-Family Text Amendment, during their next Regular Meeting this Thursday, December 16th.  

ZD 084/21 is a zoning tool eight years in the making that will reverse the impact of exclusionary zoning in historic neighborhoods by incentivizing developers to create affordable small-scale multi-family housing. This will spur the development of not only fourplexes and triplexes but also doubles and single-family homes on vacant and underutilized properties in amenity-rich neighborhoods with equitable access to grocery stores, recreation, jobs, and public transit. 

Unfortunately, Councilmember Giarrusso does not support this measure and is enabling wealthy, white homeowner associations to dictate who is and isn’t allowed in their neighborhoods by exerting anti-renter rhetoric.  

According to a recent report from the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, NIMBYism (“Not In My Backyard” opposition) is a driving force in discouraging affordable housing development and perpetuating segregation. Although the demographic of neighborhood association leadership does not properly reflect the actual racial make-up of the neighborhoods they represent, they are often the loudest voices in the room and are cherry-picked by Cm. Giarrusso himself as his district’s stakeholders when making zoning decisions. 

It is time to take a stand against NIMBYs. We are calling on developers, renters, and affordable housing advocates to attend Thursday’s City Council Meeting to voice their support for the Small Multi-Family Text Amendment.  

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 16th, at 10 AM 

WHERE: City Council Chamber (1300 Perdido Street, Second Floor West) * 

*If you are unable to attend the meeting in person, we encourage you to submit an online public comment at bit.ly/NoNIMBYs for Regular Agenda Item 17a BEFORE 8 AM ON THURS, DEC. 16 using one of our sample comments below. 

SAMPLE COMMENTS: 

  • As a developer, the approval of this zoning docket will allow me to assist in expanding our city’s affordable housing footprint without strenuous barriers. New Orleans desperately needs more housing stock, especially for low-income families, renters, and vulnerable populations. #PutHousingFirst and approve ZD 084/21. 
  • Affordable housing advocates are taking a stand against exclusionary zoning and segregation, and we urge the council to do the same. Rejecting this text amendment will discourage renters – who make up a majority of our population – from living in the most opportunity-rich areas of New Orleans and will cause mass displacement of service workers, culture bearers, and marginalized communities. #PutHousingFirst and approve ZD 084/21. 
  • Multi-family housing is a normal feature in big cities like New Orleans. We need to stop villainizing the expansion of multi-family housing in order to keep up with our city’s lack of affordable housing stock. If we continue to discourage the development of small-scale multi-family housing, we will create exclusive neighborhoods full of single-family housing options that are not accessible to the average renter. New Orleans needs to promote equity and stop prioritizing the wealthy over our vast population of renters and low-income families. #PutHousingFirst and approve ZD 084/21. 
  • High-ground, amenity-rich neighborhoods have seen a reduction in units since Katrina. Many smaller multi-family buildings were converted to singles for wealthier homebuyers, but we don’t actually need big homes for big families. We have an aging population with smaller household sizes and far fewer families with children. We need more affordable units at smaller sizes, in neighborhoods close to jobs and public transit. 3- and 4-plexes should not be regulated in similar fashion to 200-unit buildings. Stop making it harder for low-income residents to access housing, transit, and employment. #PutHousingFirst and approve ZD 084/21. 
  • Zoning code does not allow the timely development of rental housing that matches the needs of residents in New Orleans, yet we continue to pass exclusionary zoning policy and make detrimental housing decisions based solely on racist and anti-renter rhetoric straight from NIMBY playbooks. Please base your decision today on the actual need to expand our city’s affordable housing footprint. #PutHousingFirst and approve ZD 084/21. 

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