Still Recovering from Katrina, New Orleans Ponders Affordability

As Reported by Della Hasselle, Louisiana Weekly

A new proposal to investigate how future real estate developments would impact the city’s level of affordable housing is dividing stakeholders, with members of the private building sector protesting an idea strongly supported by local housing advocates.

The topic came to a head in mid-July during a City Planning Commission hearing, when city staff took a first stab at conducting a study to assess something called preliminary affordable housing statements.

new orleans flooding photo
Photo by Infrogmation

The New Orleans City Council in May directed the commission to investigate how affordable housing could be assessed as part of land-use and building applications in New Orleans. Under the proposal, “impact statements” would be attached to any new land use zoning decisions or permits.

Ultimately, the proposal “may create a multifaceted approach to addressing the challenges of providing affordable housing in a resilient and steadily growing city,” according to the City Council directive.

According to City Council members, anyone who isn’t “cost burdened” by rent or mortgage is considered to have “affordable housing.”

That threshold is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which considers families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing and utilities to be cost burdened. According to HUD, those families may have difficulty paying for other necessities, including, food, transportation and medical care.

It’s estimated in New Orleans that more than 70 percent of all households pay one-third or more of their income towards housing costs, with the number steadily increasing over the past 10 years.

Read the Full Article in the Louisiana Weekly

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