Displacement And Discrimination: The Politics Of Re-Housing New Orleans' Poor

Despite a Senate report that recommended FEMA be dismantled and replaced, the troubled agency is still "holding the purse strings" on recovery in New Orleans, and tens of thousands of residents may be cut off from rental assistance monies next month.
May 5, 2006, 5am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"The People's Hurricane Relief Fund & Oversight Coalition, a local grassroots advocacy organization...is organizing nationwide protests at FEMA offices around May 15 in response to reports that rental assistance to up to 50,000 people could be cut off June 1. City governments in Houston, Memphis, and elsewhere told The New York Times that FEMA had promised these families vouchers for a full year following the storm.

There is no large-scale or integrated proposal for affordable housing. The 'Road Home' housing plan approved April 26 by the Louisiana Recovery Authority includes up to $150,000 for repairing or relocating, a reasonable assessment. But the incentives are for homeowners and landlords onlyâ€"no assistance for the renters who are slightly over half of the city. Funding for the plan comes from the $4.2 billion in a supplemental federal budget request currently awaiting approval by the Senate. The Senate bill does include an additional $1 billion to repair affordable rental stock, including public housing, but HUD has the authority to waive the requirement that this money be used for low-income housing.

The reality is, when it comes to the next round of decisions about rebuilding and repopulation, the window of opportunity may be soon closing for New Orleans's exiled working-class African-Americans."

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Published on Thursday, May 4, 2006 in Tom Paine
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