Save Affordable NOLA Housing Fact Sheet

Bill Quigley
Date Published: 
December 19, 2006

Save Affordable Housing in New Orleans – No to Katrina
Millions for Demolition

1. New Orleans is in the worst affordable housing
crisis since the Civil War. HUD reports that the city
is 100% rented as tens of thousands of homes remain
wrecked. There was a waiting list of 18,000 people
for public and section 8 housing pre-Katrina. When
HANO opened list for Section 8 in 2001, 19 thousand
people applied.
2. Despite this, HUD has announced plans to demolish
4,534 apartments of public housing garden-style
apartments: 1546 in BW Cooper; 723 in C.J. Peete;
1400 in St. Bernard; 865 in Lafitte.
3. John Fernandez, Associate Professor of Architecture
at MIT, has inspected 140 of these apartments and has
concluded “no structural or nonstructural damage was
found that could reasonably warrant any cost-effective
building demolition…Therefore, the general conclusions
are: demolition of any of the buildings of these four
projects is not supported by the evidence of the
survey, replacement of these buildings with
contemporary construction would yield buildings of
lower quality and shorter lifetime duration; the
original construction methods and materials of these
projects are far superior in their resistance to
hurricane conditions than typical new construction and
with renovation and regular maintenance, the lifetimes
of the buildings in all four projects promise decades
of continued service that may be extended
4. HANOs own documents show that: Lafitte could be
repaired for $20million, even completely overhauled
for $85 million, yet estimate for demolition and
rebuilding many fewer units will cost $100m; St.
Bernard could be repaired for $41m, substantially
modernized for $130m, demolition and rebuilding LESS
UNITS will cost $197m; BW Cooper could be
substantially renovated for $135 million compared to
$221m to demolish and rebuild LESS UNITS; HANOs own
insurance company reported that it would take less
than $5000 each to repair CJ Peete apartments.
5. St. Bernard will go from 1400 units to 595
apartments – of which 145 will be market rate –
leaving 160 low-income public housing units; 160 tax
credit (mixed income) units. CJ Peete will go from
723 units to 410 units – 154 public housing; 133 tax
credit (mixed income) and 123 market. BW Cooper will
go from 1546 units to 410 units – 154 public housing,
133 tax credit (mixed income) and 123 market. Lafitte
will go from 865 to only a fraction as well.
6. The developers of these properties will get federal
assistance to demolish habitable affordable housing in
the following amounts: $12.8m in Go Zone tax credits
for Lafitte, plus $16.3m in CDBG funds; $7.4m in Go
Zone tax credits for St. Bernard plus $27m in CDBG
funds; $6.9m in Go Zone tax credits for BW Cooper plus
$27m in CDBG funds; $7.3m in Go Zone tax credits for
CJ Peete plus $27m in CDBG funds.
7. New York Times Architecture critic Nicolai
Ouroussoff, criticized this demolition saying on
November 19, 2006: “Modestly scaled, they include some
of the best public housing built in the United
States….Solidly built, the buildings’ detailed
brickwork, tile roofs and wrought-iron balustrades
represent a level of craft more likely found on an Ivy
League campus than in a contemporary public housing