NEW ORLEANS – May 4, 2022 – The HousingNOLA Semi-Annual Report, which tracks how many affordable housing opportunities are being created in New Orleans, shows city and state leaders continue to fail to deliver on their commitments to provide affordable housing. We are currently mid-way through year 7 of the HousingNOLA 10-Year Strategy and Implementation Plan, which called for 33,600 additional affordable units in the city by the year 2025. However, due to the dire need and city leaders’ lack of response, in February of this year, HousingNOLA and its partners felt it necessary to update the 10-year plan and provide a financial roadmap to end our city’s affordable housing crisis. The Housing for All Action Plan revealed that $37 billion is needed to ensure equitable development that will help New Orleans grow its population and economy, and recover quickly from disasters. The plan included actionable items to achieve success.
This latest report now shows the affordable housing need is even greater, with 44,000 new environmentally resilient affordable homes needed and another 13,000 units needed to be preserved as affordable units. Despite the historic funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the development of affordable rental and homeownership opportunities remains dreadfully slow.
“The city of New Orleans still hasn’t communicated clearly how it’s going to allocate hundreds of millions of ARPA recovery dollars,” says Andreanecia Morris, HousingNOLA Executive Director. “Too many people lost their homes during covid and leaders’ failure to find additional sources of money not only hurt the average New Orleanian but also displaced essential workers. We need to make investments that put people first and put housing first. There are thousands of empty homes that we could be making available to essential workers and vulnerable New Orleanians. It’s time our elected officials stop bickering and start taking action. They all say they care but none of them are behaving that way,” Morris said.
The Semi-Annual Report is put together from data gathered from city and state housing agencies and is released mid-way through the HousingNOLA reporting cycle. A few key takeaways include:
- New Orleans is experiencing a net negative production of affordable housing units.
- Typical rent prices increased 5 out of 6 months between September 2021 and February 2022.
- Providing rental assistance simply isn’t enough – policies and laws need to be enacted that guarantee housing for everyone.
Myths about Section-8
The Semi-Annual Report reveals the Housing Choice Voucher Program (previously referred to as “Section-8”) utilization dropped by 587 units between September 1 and February 28 alone. That means that there are 587 voucher holders who have lost their housing and cannot find a landlord to rent to them. “With the skyrocketing rental market and the end of the eviction moratorium, anti-voucher bias is rearing its ugly head,” Morris said. “The covid eviction crisis has been mismanaged so badly that landlords are now wary of a program that would guarantee rent in the midst of this affordable housing crisis! For that reason, this year’s report includes a section debunking common myths about the Housing Choice Voucher Program.”
Read the full report.
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