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GNOFHAC Executive Director Testifies Before US Congress About Gulf Coast Recovery and the CDBG Program

Posted on 06. May, 2008 by in 2008 News, News

On Thursday, May 8, 2008, GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry testified before the House Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development about the role of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast after the 2005 hurricanes and the extent to which local and state governments have failed to use this funding in a way that affirmatively furthers fair housing. Under Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development provides CDBG funding to cities and counties in order to “carry out a wide range of community development activities directed toward revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development, and providing improved community facilities and services.” Since the 2005 storms, HUD has provided over $16 billion in CDBG funds to affected areas which have funded a myriad of rebuilding programs, including the Road Home program.

5-6-08: Read the press release here.

5-8-08:
Read James Perry’s testimony here.

5-8-08: Listen audio from the testimony here.

GNOFHAC and NPN Host Documentary Screening and Discussion “Art, Gentrification & Community Power”

Posted on 09. Apr, 2008 by in 2008 News, News

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and the Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN) present “Art, Gentrification, and Community Power” on April 17th from 6-9pm in the lobby of the Capital One Building at 313 Carondelet Street.

The event will feature a screening of the documentary Third Ward, TX, about Project Row Houses, a community art project in Houston that helped to revitalize a neighborhood.  The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe, New Orleans artist Stephanie McKee, housing expert James Perry, and neighborhood leader Jessica Knox.  Light refreshments will be served.  The event is free and open to the public.  Those interested should call 504.596.2100 or send an email to kscott@gnofairhousing.org to RSVP.

A group of artists founded Project Row Houses to create community through the celebration of art and African American history and culture.  Originally, the group purchased and rehabbed a row of shotgun houses in the historically African American Third Ward of Houston, TX.  A portion of the houses are used as exhibition space for artists and a portion of the houses are used to provide housing for single mothers.  The documentary Third Ward, TX tells the story of Project Row Houses with a focus on how the organization is handling the gentrification that ensued following their great successes.

GNOFHAC Executive Director James Perry comments, “The Fair Housing Act was passed 40 years ago this month and we have yet to see truly open housing in New Orleans.  Innovative ideas like Project Row Houses help to foster healthy neighborhoods, so this is a hopeful discussion to be having in the City of New Orleans at this historical moment.  Please join us Thursday, April 17th.”

 

Federal Judge Blocks Rental Ordinance

Posted on 09. Apr, 2008 by in 2008 News, News, St. Bernard Parish

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting St. Bernard Parish from enforcing an ordinance requiring special permits to rent out houses that weren’t rentals before Hurricane Katrina. U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance’s order bars the parish from evicting dozens of tenants by shutting off utilities at homes rented by a group of out-of-state investors who filed a lawsuit claiming the ordinance violates their property rights.

4-9-08 Read the Times Picayune article “Judge blocks rental ordinance” here

Action Alert: Kenner’s Ban on Multi-Family Housing Has Discriminatory Effect

Posted on 04. Apr, 2008 by in 2008 News, Actions, News

In April, the City of Kenner passed a ban on the construction of multi-family housing. Census data demonstrates that Latinos, African-Americans, families with children and people with disabilities rely most heavily on muli-family rental housing. The reliance stems from the fact that multi-family housing is more likely to be affordable. Plus, for people with physical disabilities, multi-family housing is the only housing required by law to be accessible for people with disabilities. As a result Kenner’s ban on the construction of apartment housing is having a discriminatory effect. We ask you to join us in advocating that the Kenner City Council reverse its decision.

4-4-08: Read the Fair Housing Center’s press release on the Kenner moratorium here.

4-11-08: Read the Times Picayune article stating our opinion here.

Lawsuit Challenges St. Bernard Permissive Use Ordinance

Posted on 23. Mar, 2008 by in 2008 News, News, St. Bernard Parish

A group of out-of-state investors who bought and renovated 80 flood-damaged homes in St. Bernard Parish has filed a lawsuit to overturn a parish ordinance requiring special permits to rent the homes.

3-23-08 Read the Time Picayune article “Lawsuit seeks to evict rent rules” here

GNOFHAC Settles Lawsuit Against St. Bernard Parish

Posted on 28. Feb, 2008 by in 2008 News, Enforcement News, News, St. Bernard Parish

On February 28, 2008, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center announced the settlement of its lawsuit against St. Bernard Parish regarding a discriminatory local ordinance. St. Bernard Parish has agreed to pay a $32,500 settlement over a 2006 ordinance, since repealed, that restricted the rental of a home to blood relatives of the owner. GNOFHAC alleged that the ordinance was racially discriminatory, since white individuals own 93% of all owner-occupied housing in St. Bernard Parish, and make up approximately 88% of the Parish’s population.

2-28-08: Read GNO Fair Housing’s press release here.

2-29-08: Read the Times Picayune article on the settlement here.

2-29-08: Read Jarvis DeBerry’s opinion from the Times Picayune here.

3-1-08: Read the Times Picayune editorial here.