Sep 10, 2020
Did you know that the Lower Ninth Ward had the highest rate of homeownership in New Orleans, pre-Hurricane Katrina? And that the devastation of those homes and displacement of their African American owners was caused by breeches in levees that are still in disrepair 15 years later? Or that tens of thousands of those owners remain displaced from their own city? Unlike most cities grappling with a housing crisis, there are 19,000 vacant units in New Orleans. The fact that landlords have withheld them from the rental market is just one of the factors that compelled dozens of affordable housing developers, homeless and housing advocates, and community residents to create Housing NOLA. Their mission is crystal-clear: to produce a data-based plan for meeting affordable housing needs in New Orleans over a 10-year period. It takes an uncommon leader to publish a yearly report card on such a plan’s progress and failings. Andreanecia Morris is the exceptional leader that Housing NOLA deserves. From her expertise in housing development and policy advocacy to her deep commitment to racial equity and justice, this is a story we all need to hear and follow.