Notes from New Orleans: Affordable Housing Shortage

Posted on: March 24th, 2008 by Walter Gallas

Mercy Corps’ Rick Denhart was told by the demolition contractor of the C.J. Peete housing development that 15 buildings in one quadrant of the site could be available for salvage, yet total demolition of the buildings seems to be proceeding. Meanwhile, one source told us the demolition of Lafitte was likely indefinitely stalled, yet a city source said the Lafitte demolition would occur.

The March 23 Sunday Times-Picayune ran a story on the precarious state of many affordable housing projects in New Orleans given the turmoil in the financial markets. An accompanying map indicated that phases of C. J. Peete and B. W. Cooper have closed on their financing, while Lafitte and St. Bernard have not. The map also shows that one phase of C.J.Peete is completed—which is not true. Developers are also caught in a bind with rising construction costs yet constraints on how much rent to charge on some units.

The Times-Picayune also acknowledged the shortage of affordable housing this week in a story about the thousands who lined up in Kenner to apply for Section 8 vouchers from the Kenner Housing Authority. “Many people in line said the post-Katrina shortage of affordable housing prompted them to ask for government help,” the story reports.

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