Save NOLA Affordable Housing Fact Sheet

Coalition to Stop the Demolitions
Date Published: 
December 18, 2007
Save NOLA Affordable Housing Fact Sheet
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 indefinitely.”

4. HANO's 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

Source- A service of the Loyola Law Clinic