New Orleans, LA

Activists press for apartment renewal

March 09, 2007
The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center will ask the New Orleans City Council not to place a moratorium on multifamily housing development in Gentilly and eastern New Orleans, an attorney for the nonprofit group said Thursday as news of the plan spread.
     "We believe it's a violation of the Fair Housing Act," said Lucia Blacksher, general counsel for the group, which has fought similar measures in the past.

Charity sued after plan to build housing craters

February 22, 2007
A West Bank landowner sued Jefferson Parish and a national social welfare agency Wednesday over a $1.2 million property sale that fell through when Councilman Chris Roberts vowed to block all new subsidized housing developments in his district.
     Volunteers of America had planned to build a 200-unit complex for older adults on Behrman Highway in Terrytown. Despite Roberts' legislation in October attempting to derail the plans, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency approved the nonprofit group's application for federa

Housing group applauds extended deadline

January 23, 2007
A Washington, DC-based low income housing advocate had strong words of support for President George Bush and FEMA after they tacked six months onto a housing assistance deadline for Hurricane Katrina victims. The Feb. 28 cutoff of Section 408 aid would have left nearly 128,000 families, currently living in trailers, mobile homes and other cities, without roofs over their heads.

In New Orleans, ex-tenants fight for projects

December 25, 2006
The heritage of suspicion and misery separating this city’s poorest residents from its comfortable classes is playing out in a fierce battle over the future of the public housing projects here, a fight in which the shelter of as many as 20,000 people is at stake.
     It has raged ever since the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development announced plans last June to demolish four of the largest projects in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and no amount of assurances that the agency wants to replace the crime-haunted, aging brick structures with something better has calmed the anger of former tenants.

NOLA council amends rental law

December 20, 2006
The St. Bernard Parish Council tweaked a controversial rental law that detractors said was racially discriminatory, but it sidestepped a request to throw out the whole law.
     After a brief public hearing, the council Tuesday voted 5-1 to remove the clause in the law that forbids the owners of single-family homes to rent to anyone not a blood relative without the government's permission, unless the property was rented before Katrina.

‘Discriminatory’ renting ordinance halted in Lousiana

November 16, 2006
Civil-rights activists in New Orleans won a partial victory in the fight for fair housing practices this week.
     In response to a lawsuit filed by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and property owner Wallace Rodrigue, Louisiana’s Saint Bernard Parish agreed not to implement an ordinance restricting property owners from renting to anyone except "blood relatives."

La. parish agrees to halt enforcement of disputed ordinance

November 13, 2006
Today, St. Bernard Parish agreed to suspend enforcement of a September 2006 ordinance barring single-family homeowners from renting to anyone except blood relatives without the special permission of the Parish Council. The agreement comes on the heels of the filing of a motion for preliminary injunction last week by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and Wallace Rodrigue, both plaintiffs in the case.
     The agreement is the result of a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by GNOFHAC and Wallace Rodrigue asking the court to enjoin the Parish from enforcing its Blood Relative ordinance.
     The agreement and motion stem from a lawsuit filed by GNOFHAC in early October of this year. The lawsuit alleges that the ordinance discriminates against minority families seeking housing and perpetuates the Parish’s history as a segregated, predominantly white community. While the ordinance will not be in effect, the Parish still refuses to repeal it. As a result, the parties will still prepare the case for trial.

Foundation sues Gonzales on group home refusal

November 09, 2006
A Baton Rouge-based nonprofit foundation that runs group homes for the mentally handicapped has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court accusing the city of Gonzales of using zoning laws to discriminate against people with disabilities.
     Options Foundation executed a lease with an option to buy a residence on North Irma Boulevard in Gonzales for use as a location for an independent living facility housing 12 mentally handicapped adults, according to the lawsuit.

White resident joins housing bias lawsuit in St. Bernard

November 06, 2006
Fair housing advocates, joined by a local property owner, last week asked a federal court to enjoin St. Bernard Parish from enforcing a September ordinance barring single-family homeowners from renting to anyone except blood relatives without the special permission of the Parish Council.
     The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) and the owner, Wallace Rodrigue, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Parish alleging that the ordinance disproportionately excludes families of color seeking housing, and perpetuates the parish's history as a segregated, predominantly white community.

Whites pursued Katrina insurance complaints more aggressively than minorities

October 25, 2006
While the streets were still choked with twisted houses, the Louisiana insurance department began broadcasting a message to homeowners victimized by Hurricane Katrina.
     For free, those who felt they’d been shortchanged by their insurers could file a complaint with state regulators. If the case was deemed valid, state officials would seek a higher insurance settlement for the homeowner.
     But the message carried by the department’s traveling vans, as well as by TV and radio ads, and user-friendly Web sites, didn’t reach many who needed help the most - especially poor and minority residents with no access to computers, radio or cell phones.

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