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Six Ways to Slow Gentrification in New Orleans

Posted on 30. Jul, 2015 by

Housing prices are increasing rapidly, threatening to price out many long-term residents who have made this city great for generations.

Can New Orleans change course? Here are our ideas for six solutions. What are yours?

Mazant_Royal

HANO’s Mazant-Royal property in the Bywater. Source: HANO

1. Make the best use of publicly owned properties in low-poverty neighborhoods.
It’s time to be smart and targeted in how we use our remaining blighted lots. With 3,000 adjudicated properties up for auction–many in quickly transitioning neighborhoods–holding some land for affordable housing could slow displacement. Similarly, the Housing Authority owns hundreds of unused lots, many in low-poverty neighborhoods, that would make great housing for renters facing displacement.

St.Roch.Market

St. Roch Market. Source: Nola.com

2. Ensure neighborhood investments promote equity rather than displacement.
Beautification projects like the $37 million spent in the Bywater and St. Roch go a long way towards neighborhood improvement. Coupling neighborhood investments with affordable housing will help working families to stay and enjoy the newly added parks, transit, and other amenities.

3. 
Use zoning to incentivize affordability and integration.
Our zoning code can work to reward housing developers who build some units for working families. Policies like this take advantage of our City’s hot real estate market to create affordable housing in sought-after neighborhoods.

4. Double the housing trust fund and use it for housing.
The City’s Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund (NHIF) is funded at roughly $3 million/year. These valuable tax dollars could be used to offset our affordability crisis and build or rehab homes in gentrifying neighborhoods.

5. Implement property tax relief programs for lower-income homeowners.
Long time homeowners in rapidly changing neighborhoods are at risk of losing their homes due to dramatic increases in property taxes. Cities like Chicago, Boston, and others have implemented targeted property tax freezes to help long-term residents stay in their neighborhoods.

Broadmoor_House_Fire

Deadly home fire in Broadmoor. Source: Nola.com

6. Hold rental housing to basic health and safety standards.
Thousands of units throughout the City have leaks, mold, and fire hazards. Tenants can either put up with it or move, but moving is often expensive.

 

Have you heard of other ideas to prevent gentrification and displacement that you think could work here? Share them in the comments!

 

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