More Public Housing Updates (i.e., victories!)

In the news this weekend:

I’m late on this one: Pres. Cand. John Edwards speaks out against demolition.  Even better: Majority Leaders Pelosi and Reid send a letter to Bush asking him to halt demolition for at least 60 days while an alternate plan is worked out.  The text of the letter is here, and includes data on the doubling of the homeless population in NOLA, the new loss of affordable units in the city, and the (at least) 45% rise in rents.  But here’s the excerpt I like the most (my emphases and $.02 throughout):

Given the City’s housing needs and the current availability of these affordable housing resources, we are extremely disappointed by the Department’s insistence on moving ahead with this demolition despite insufficient resources to make up the clear loss of affordable housing (shocking, I know). For the Federal government to reduce affordable housing units at a time when the City is desperate for this very type of housing is a misuse of taxpayer funds and runs counter to the mission of the Department, not to mention the core values that we share (A waste of $$ + un-American!!  Fascists.). Additionally, HANO has not completed a promised survey of displaced residents and has indicated that this important document now will not be ready until late January at the earliest. HANO has also not provided meaningful opportunity for residents to collect their belongings. The additional sixty days would allow for the resolution of these and other essential issues, including the completion of a comprehensive plan for HANO redevelopment of all affordable units, and replacement of any units proposed for demolition (i.e., tell HUD/HANO to do it’s f***ing job).

HUD has sent over its own scoldings and threats to Mayor Nagin (I refuse to link), incl. revoking affordable housing vouchers for former public housing residents, stripping the city of affordable housing development funds, and other disgusting and punitive measures on the backs of our country’s poorest residents.  Perhaps as consolation prize HUD could at least give the residents copies of the $100k portraits they recently commissioned of the agency’s executives.  If facsimiles of the benevolent Sec. Jackson smiling down on folks in soup kitchens and FEMA trailers doesn’t demonstrate that our government cares, I really don’t know what does.  Meanwhile, the investigation of HUD practices under Jackson continues.

Finally, as I mentioned last week, demolition has been halted, pending the decisions of the City Council, expected to be taken up this Thursday.  If you want to register your opinion with City Council members, there contact info is:

Arnie Fielkow – (504) 658-1060 AFielkow@cityofno.com
Jacquelyn Clarkson – (504) 658-1070 JBClarkson@cityofno.com
Stacy Head – (504) 658-1020 SHead@cityofno.com
Shelley Midura – (504) 658-1010 SMidura@cityofno.com
James Carter – (504) 658-1030 JCarter@cityofno.com
Cynthia Hedge-Morrell – (504) 658-1040
Cynthia Willard-Lewis – (504) 658-1050 CWLewis@cityofno.com


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