Call-To-Action: Support our Neighbors through the Expansion of ADUs and Right to Counsel

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 – New Orleans City Council is holding a Public Hearing tomorrow (Thursday, May 5) at 10:00 AM to consider Zoning Docket 12/22 (ADUs) and CAL. NO. 33,682 (Right to Counsel).  

We ask that you review our summary of Zoning Docket 12/22 (Regular Agenda Item 8) below and utilize our sample comments either in-person or by submitting an online comment here. We also encourage you to use Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center’s tips for submitting public comments and talking points for Right to Counsel (Regular Agenda Item 21a) here.  

WHAT: City Council Regular Meeting 

WHEN: Thursday, May 5, at 10:00 AM *Land Use Matters start at 11:00 AM 

WHERE: City Council Chamber, City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70112 OR at bit.ly/YesOnADU *Online comment submission closes TOMORROW 5/5 at 8:00 AM 


Regular Agenda Item 8: Zoning Docket 12/22 seeks to expand the accessibility of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) citywide, which would promote: 

  • Diversity of housing stock – New Orleans’ population is decreasing, and the current housing stock is not keeping up with ever-changing demographics in familial units. ADUs provide more practical housing opportunities for low-income renters, single roommates, and our aging population in need of at-home care. 
  • Homeowner stabilization – Struggling homeowners can collect additional income to contribute to increased housing costs by providing a small-scale rental unit directly on their lot. 
  • Anti-displacement – With STR restrictions codified in the staff report, ADUs can provide a social safety net for communities and remedy the generational displacement of long-term New Orleans residents. 

Sample Comments and Talking Points in Support of ZD 12/22: 

  • New Orleans’ population is decreasing, and the current housing stock is not keeping up with ever-changing demographics in familial units. ADUs provide more practical housing opportunities for low-income renters, single roommates, and our aging population in need of at-home care. With STR restrictions codified in the staff report, ADUs can provide a social safety net for communities and remedy the generational displacement of long-term New Orleans residents. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 
  • Single-family zoning has historically been used as a tool to promote segregation and disinvestment. The outdated notion that renters contribute to decreased property value and increased crime holds deep-seated racial and classist bias that does not align with statistical data. Please do not codify bigotry that is not grounded in facts. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 
  • I ask that the Council does not fall victim to “all-or-nothing” rationale in the toxic cycle of NIMBYism impeding the expansion of affordable housing opportunities in New Orleans. Policies that seek to increase accessibility and equity in amenity-rich neighborhoods should not be completely thrown out over the possibility of some units becoming STRs. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 
  • The City’s Assessment of Fair Housing and the HousingNOLA 10-Year Strategy and Implementation Plan both call for increased density in exchange for affordability. Changes in ADU regulations citywide offer a unique opportunity to help communities build wealth while expanding a type of small-scale housing stock that is contextually appropriate in size and blends into the existing neighborhood character. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 
  •  In the vein of historic preservation, slave quarters were considered ADUs, and changes in regulations that would facilitate the expansion of ADUs throughout neighborhoods in New Orleans can act as an adaptation for the modern housing needs of low-income Black renters in need of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. This can turn our country’s ugly and systematically racist history into equitable housing justice for all. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 
  • We need to meet people where they are. Service workers, culture bearers, and voucher holders who have been kicked out of the city due to rising housing costs need and deserve to come back home to the communities they were once a part of. ADUs will play a major role in fighting displacement and securing long-term residents. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22! 
  • Homeowners are struggling to make ends meet with rising insurance costs and property taxes. Increasing access to both stabilize long-time homeowners through additional income while providing more practical small-scale housing options for renters seems like a win-win. Those who oppose this policy are claiming that this will turn every single-family lot into multi-family housing, which is not true. No one is forcing everyone to add an ADU to their lot. It is expanding the option for people to opt into it. Help renters and homeowners by passing ZD 12/22.  
  • Recently published research from Harvard Business Review is showing a correlation between rising STR restrictions and a long-term decrease in overall residential building permits across 15 major U.S. cities from 2008 to 2019. HousingNOLA’s Housing for All Plan outlines the need to house 40,000 households earning $35k a year with only about half that number of affordable units available. New Orleans is progressively becoming unlivable for renters, and decisions that continue to undermine small-scale, in-fill development are forcing the most vulnerable to accept deplorable living conditions under slumlords like Josh Bruno and Laura Russell, while the very same renters continue to bear the brunt of racist stereotypes that label them as criminals who decrease property value. In a city like New Orleans that supposedly thrives off tourism, we should be encouraging our city leaders to think of innovative ways to use tax revenue from STRs to feedback into our city’s economy and stop victimizing responsible landlords who utilize homestead exemptions. #PutHousingFirst and vote ‘yes’ on ZD 12/22. 
  • According to HousingNOLA’s 2022 Semi-Annual Report, New Orleans has experienced a loss of 587 Housing Choice Voucher utilization due to voucher-holders being unable to find housing to use the voucher with. Further, the typical rent for a unit in New Orleans in February was $1,492, $238 more than last year. We need diverse and coordinated efforts to solve our affordable housing crisis. ADUs offer private citizens the opportunity to add value to their property, provide affordable housing to members of our community, and earn income that they can put back into the economy. As it is a private endeavor, there would not be a dramatic influx of ADUs if the zoning is approved. The choice will merely be at the residents’ discretion. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 
  • At a time when child-bearing folks’ rights are being infringed upon, our city urgently needs to take steps to secure our most marginalized communities, especially Black and Brown renters, families, and mothers. The eviction of Black women continues to skyrocket, and a lack of support through guaranteed childcare and healthcare worsens their economic stability. We cannot ignore how housing instability exacerbates these racial inequities, and policies that expand affordable housing access like ADUs play a crucial role in alleviating that burden. #PutHousingFirst and vote to approve ZD 12/22. 

Resources: 

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