New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently held seven town-hall style meetings on affordable housing.

It’s not news that New Orleanians are facing a housing affordability crisis. According to the most recent data, nearly half of all residents in Orleans Parish pay more for housing than the federal government recommends, 16 families are forced from their home due to eviction each day on average, and housing cost data shows that workers must make over $19 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. For many families, owning a home is entirely out of reach. In light of the dire circumstances facing New Orleanians, it is imperative that voters citywide go to the polls to vote yes on Constitutional Amendment No. 4. By voting yes, we can all help to stem the tide of displacement in our city.

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The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center works to ensure that everyone has equal access to housing opportunity. It is clear that the affordability crisis is hitting certain neighborhoods particularly hard. As out-of-town investors and speculators continue to buy properties in our historic neighborhoods, we’ve seen tax assessments skyrocket for many long-time homeowners in those communities. In the Treme, the 7th Ward, and other areas, many families own their homes outright, but cannot afford higher property tax bills. Increasingly, whole families are being evicted only to find the only affordable places to live are in apartment complexes with substandard conditions, that are often far-removed from the job centers in the City’s historic core.

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It is our people that make New Orleans a unique and exciting place to live. And as residents of our city, we all have a duty to preserve our culture. One way we can do that is to support Constitutional Amendment No. 4. The amendment would allow the City of New Orleans to create new programs to provide tax relief to homeowners at risk of losing their homes. With this local solution drafted to address a local issue, we could also create new incentives to ensure high quality rental homes are actually affordable to our people. With over 35,000 families on the housing authority’s waiting list, the need to address this crisis cannot be understated. For those of us who want to help our neighbors and preserve the culture of New Orleans, we need to turn out on October 12th and vote yes for Constitutional Amendment No. 4.

Cashauna Hill

executive director, Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

New Orleans