Monday, December 28, 2009

New Orleans Housing Crisis Continues

A new report from Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center highlights the continuing issues that affordable housing tenants are facing in the city by shining a light on the failures of the city's Section 8 voucher system.

Evidence of the city's housing crisis is all around us. With homelessness on the rise, the area around the shelter on O.C. Haley has become a new tent city, with scores of men and women around the highway overpass facing the winter nights without a roof over their heads. On a recent evening, a vigil in that neighborhood was organized in memory of those who have died on the cold streets. For impoverished folks needing health care, the hospital system has also been failing.

Meanwhile, even HANO admits that the Section 8 voucher system doesn't work, telling reporter Katy Reckdahl, that the system "is, without question, broken." The remaining homes in Iberville also remain under threat, with more than a third of the complex already empty.

The size of our problems demands not just grassroots action, but changed policies on the city, state, and federal level. Survivor's Village, a local housing rights organization, recently announced that they will be initiating a Take Back The Land Initiative on January 18. We hope this helps move forward the change the city needs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My question is:
Why aren't the mainstream homelessness NGOs coming up with new and innovative ways to solve this problem?
One idea would be to reach out to homeowners whose homes are still destroyed from the storm, and asking them to agree to do a work-trade arrangement so homeless people could live in their empty house and fix it up (say, an agreement to do 15 hours of work a week in exchange for living in the home, and perhaps more hours if the home has electricity, plumbing, etc...)

In the absence of any meaningful action like that by NGOs, people should organize themselves to OCCUPY any empty housing they may need (or occupy a home for others who may need it but be unable to do it because they are undocumented, etc...), including empty condos, the housing on the sites of the former projects, empty/abandoned homes, etc...

There are already several houses where people have been squatting long-term in New Orleans, and the fact that the NGOs haven't even been able to help some of the homeless take this simple step, I think shows their impotence at doing anything but paying their own salaries.