HousingNOLA Report Reveals COVID-19 Housing Catastrophe
NEW ORLEANS – From HousingNOLA:
As the COVID-19 Pandemic shines an even brighter light on the need for affordable housing in New Orleans, HousingNOLA said its 2020 Semi-Annual Report shows state and city leaders are failing to keep their commitment to provide affordable housing.
In 2016, leaders committed to creating 7,500 affordable housing opportunities by the end of 2020. As of March 1, 2020, only 1,274 new housing options have been created and 354 affordable housing options have been lost in the last six months. This is the fourth year HousingNOLA has published these stats at the mid-year point, and this is the first time that there has been this level of decline so early in the year.
The data shows we were losing ground at an alarming rate when it comes to affordable housing even before the COVID-19 pandemic reached New Orleans. One particular segment of our population is hit hardest on both fronts. Yesterday we learned that African Americans make up 70% of the coronavirus deaths in Louisiana, which experts attribute to racial divides around economic opportunity and access to healthcare. There is also a striking disparity when it comes to race and affordable housing in New Orleans. African Americans have experienced an increase in housing insecurity, both from declining rates of home ownership and increasing cost burden rates for renters. These economic factors can’t help but have contributed to the disproportionate number of African Americans who have been struck by COVID-19.
Affordable housing advocates are calling on the governor and mayor to lead by example and use their executive powers to finally align resources and direct local and state agencies to #PutHousingFirst and guarantee sustainable housing solutions. We must provide real relief, follow through with impactful programs and connect people with the 7,300 empty homes that are available right now.
At a time when New Orleanians are told to “stay home,” resident can’t help but ask, “Where’s that?”
How can New Orleanians be told to stay home when our leaders at the state and local level aren’t doing their jobs to provide affordable housing?
We are calling on our mayor and City Council to make the following #PutHousingFirst policies a priority:
- PROVIDE IMMEDIATE RENTAL & UTILITY ASSISTANCE
- PUT HOUSING AUTHORITY VOUCHER FAMILIES INTO VACANT HOMES
- MORTGAGE PAYMENTS (RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL) MUST BE DEFERRED UNTIL THE END OF THE LOAN
- DEDICATE A REVENUE SOURCE FOR THE HOUSING TRUST FUND
- INCLUDE HOUSING FUNDING & RELATED FUNDING (GREEN BUILDING, SUPPORTIVE SERVICES, HOMEBUYER COUSELING, FINANCIAL LITERACY, ETC.) IN ALL FEDERAL EMERGENCY SPENDING PACKAGES