Cantrell: As a New Orleans Councilwoman, I have prioritized creating affordable housing by creating the density bonus , redirecting the Neighborhood Improvement Fund to homeowners and neighbors instead of code enforcement attorneys, working with housing advocates and getting state funding for case management services for homeowners stuck in Road Home.
It’s not enough because our people continue to be priced out and forced to leave neighborhoods that their families have called home for generations. As mayor, I will do the following:
Use all the tools in the toolbox , including many of those proposed in the local Put Housing First Platform.
“Provide affordable housing options for local citizens”
● Focus on preservation of existing affordable housing stock..
● Offer incentives for landlords to moderate rent.
● Encourage new housing in keeping with the character and affordability of our neighborhoods.
● Transfer remaining Road Home properties to new homeowners / Incentives for local citizens.
● Encourage employers to provide down payment assistance for their employees
● Reform the lien process and provide property tax relief to struggling families.
● Help families own homes and build wealth / First-time owner tax abatement program.
● Prioritize vacant property development and increase access to capital for development.
● In terms of STRs, bring neighborhoods into the discussion, examine new requirements and tighten enforcement.
● Work with legislature on a constitutional amendment allowing the city more flexibility/oversight over property tax policy. Use this to incentivize affordable housing. (GNOHA questionnaire)
● Incentivize energy efficiency projects for the landlord community, to help lower energy bills, while also creating more green jobs in our community (GNOHA)
● Build affordable units: Gap financing program for developers leveraging other state and federal incentives (eg Historic Tax Credits, 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits)
Henry: My strategy is built on the objective of enabling more locals to own their own homes. Home ownership in New Orleans has declined from the time before Katrina, and City funds should be directed towards bringing this number up. For instance, subsidies that are available for the construction of affordable housing units in larger developments should be made available to help people of modest means into “Rent-to- Own” programs. Loan subsidies can be forgiven over time as the owner stays in the house.
Charbonnet: As Mayor, my administration would emphasize facilitating musicians housing. The development of affordable housing in New Orleans, especially for our working people, has not kept pace with the growing demand. My administration will approach this problem aggressively by prioritizing the development of safe, healthy and affordable rental units and homeownership near jobs and essential public services.
We are losing our natural musicians village with fewer and fewer musicians living in Treme, the birthplace of Jazz. It is apparent that this city is in an affordable housing crisis, this crisis hits our cultural economy the hardest. I have put together a detailed plan to address the affordability crisis and made it public for everyone to view. Please visit DesireeCharbonnet.com and send me your thoughts and ideas.
Smith: I have responded to questionnaires concerning these exact issues with other organizations who were to protect the citizens of New Orleans from such invasive and determined actions from those who clearly knows that this is happening to these neighborhoods. The other concern I have is that these new (culture wipeouts) are not able to afford these homes once this gentrification of African American neighborhoods are complete. They have high turnover of homeownerships; usually most of these homes have been owned by at least four homeowners within the last five years! Where is the stability after these homeowners move out these long-standing African American families that made those neighborhoods what they were? Finally, after a high turnover of homeowners, then it becomes a short-term rental, so that the African Americans who once stayed in those neighborhoods are not able to afford them nor return.
Hill: The root cause of gentrification is over-speculation. This speculation drives up housing prices as well as the cost of living. The reason why the over-speculation is occurring in neighborhoods such as Central City, Treme, and the 7th Ward is this city’s policy of growth. Development Districts and revitalization projects are the destroying neighborhoods by creating a false demand or fake gold-rush for property. Because the city is trying to grow, it opened the floodgate rather than turn on the faucet. There has been too much investment too quickly which has made investors overpay in an overinflated market, and thus drive up the price and cost. The property is not worth what people are paying for it, the quality of renovations does not match the price, and then the mortgages are too high. The city Assessor then comes along and over-values properties thus inflating the housing bubble more and adversely affecting the cost of living. Because we have a weak economy, we do not have the kind of jobs that provide incomes high enough to afford these neighborhoods. People on fixed incomes are at the most risk because their assessments, cost of living, and taxes have the ability to push them out.
We need to stop over-saturating the market west of the Industrial Canal. We are building too much too fast, and it is causing speculation to overinflate the prices of homes in Orleans Parish. This is only exacerbated by the shotty work, overbilling, and a shrinking population. I will delay recovery districts and spread out their project lifetime to curb the over-speculation that is ruining neighborhoods across the city.
I will focus on growth in New Orleans East, the gateway to New Orleans. We are going to use a concept called Urban Centers to deal with affordable housing, busing, jobs, childcare, economic growth, and parking. Urban Centers are primarily used in Suburban areas and are designed to mimic a busy city block. It is usually a 1sq mile plot of land with at least one high-rise mixed-used zoning building that houses residential, retail, and commercial uses. The area surrounding the high-rise consist of a grocery store, entertainment, restaurants, outdoor plaza, parking, bus depot, shopping, green-space, government services, and apartments. Urban Centers are designed to preserve low-income housing while providing jobs and easy access to transportation and education.
With smarter policies, we can deflate the housing bubble and reduce the cost of living. I assure you that I will bring down property taxes so that our elderly and fixed income citizens are insulated from future over-speculation. We are smarter than the problems that face us.
Vassel: I was born and raised in Treme and currently live on the same block that I was born on. I was a member of Providence Housing which redeveloped the Lafitte Housing. I am going to use all of the remaining properties that NORA owns and use those properties for affordable housing.