Louisiana Legislators to Low-income Renters: Don't Come Back!

Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    For More Information Contact:
October 23, 2006    Kali Akuno, PHRF Director
Monifa Bandele, PHFR Communications Director:

Louisiana Legislators to Low-income Renters:
Don’t Come Back!

Conservative members of the LA Legislature want to waive various aspects of the HUD Community Development Block Grant’s (CDBG) enforcement statutes that seek to provide housing to low-incomes families. To make matters worse, they are also pressuring HUD to eliminate 5,100 units of public housing, the majority of which went undamaged by the flood.

Advocates for people displaced by Katrina urge that if conservative legislators are successful, there will be no affordable rental housing in New Orleans. “If these statutes are waived, the vast majority of low-income renters, displaced New Orleanians won’t be able to come home”, Kali Akuno, Director of the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund.  Nearly 60% of the people displaced by hurricane Katrina were low-income renters. Survivors of the storm echo these concerns, “We must not allow HUD to relax its existing housing protections for low-income families, nor destroy New Orleans’ public housing stock”, Viola Washington.

A coalition of groups including advocates and survivors have launched a campaign demanding:

•    No waivers are granted on the low-income requirements of the CDBG funds for the State of Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Blanco, and the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA).

•    HUD enforce current statutes so that Governor Blanco and the LRA appropriate a percentage of the CDBG funds that are currently held by the LRA –proportionate to the percentage of displaced people who are renters –to renter transition and recovery programs including assistance for moving cost, deposits and rent assistance.

•    There be no demolition of any public housing units in New Orleans and the all of the public housing units be reopened immediately.