New Orleans City Council Takes Steps to Ensure Implementation of a Smart Housing Mix
NEW ORLEANS – Today, the New Orleans City Council took a stand and put housing first by approving several critical initiatives to increase safe, fair and equitable housing, and combat the current affordability crisis. The Council approved Ordinance 32,573, which establishes a mandatory inclusionary zoning overlay district, mandatory inclusionary base zoning districts, and a citywide mandatory inclusionary zoning planned development classification. Details were shared in a press release.
The second item, Motion M-19-115, asks the City Planning Commission (CPC) to consider amending the City's Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) to include certain recommendations from the HR&A New Orleans Housing Study relative to density bonuses, parking reduction, and payments in lieu of compliance.
"The matters adopted today represent a signature piece of the HousingNOLA 10 Year Plan and years of hard work together with this Council, the City, and the CPC to create something real and actionable, and we should take a moment to reflect and be grateful for that," said HousingNOLA executive director Andreanecia Morris. "This vote sends a strong message that no one can come to this city and take advantage of our resources and our people without seeing to our needs. With more than half of New Orleanians currently cost-burdened, our city faces an entirely manmade disaster of unprecedented proportion. Today, you're saying with a resounding voice that the people of New Orleans matter and for that, we are extremely grateful. I would like to thank the Council and the Mayor for their efforts but stress that there is still much more work to be done."
Currently, the Median Income in New Orleans is approximately $36,999, while the Median Home Value sits around $227,800 (HousingNOLA Report Card, 2018). In 2018, 50% of all households were cost burdened-paying more than 30% of their gross income on housing costs. With the approval of this legislation, the Council has demonstrated that it recognizes the severity of the current affordable housing crisis, and is willing to take the necessary steps to begin to address it through the implementation of the Smart Housing Mix.
"'Put Housing First' is more than just a catchphrase, it's a necessity," said Morris. "There is currently an unbelievable amount of vacancy in every corner of this city. We have more than enough room for the 100,000 African Americans who have yet to come home since Katrina because they know that if they did, they would be as cost-burdened and impoverished as the rest of the people here. New Orleans has a unique opportunity that other communities faced with these problems do not. We have the solution and we know it will work – all we need is the will to finally put housing first."