2016 Policy Victories
HousingNOLA: GNOHA and partners unveiled its official strategy and implementation plan to increase access to affordable housing over the next decade. The plan offers solutions and implementation strategies to address the ongoing city-wide struggle of residents to find affordable housing as median incomes fall and rent, home prices and insurance costs rise. The plan outlines a process to create 3,000 affordable housing opportunities by 2018, for a total of 5,000 housing opportunities by 2021. The HousingNOLA initiative hosted or participated in 35 community engagement events, from the June 2015 Housing Summit to neighborhood association meetings, community roundtables in every district, and other public meetings.
Opposition of Alterations to the Density Bonus: Edwards Communities requested an alteration of the existing density bonus to accommodate the construction of 382 apartments on the Lafitte Greenway. By right, Edwards Communities is allowed to build an apartment complex with only 272 units and the density bonus would allow for the increase to 382—provided they include 14 affordable rentals for households at 30% AMI. ($12,600 for one person/16,020 for two/$24,300 for four) Instead of building the affordable units within their complex, Edwards proposed to seed a revolving loan-fund with $644,000 in an attempt to spur the creation of 14 homeowners at the 80% AMI ($33,600, for one/$38,400 for two/$48,000 for four) in the Mid-City Neighborhood. GNOHA wrote a letter explaining how the revolving loan-fund was not a viable replacement for 14 affordable rental units. Shortly after, Edwards rescinded their alteration request and the City Council upheld the CZO's density bonus statutes.
Short-term Rentals: GNOHA advocated on behalf of the affordable housing community and long-term residents, in favor of regulating Short-term Rentals as long as a portion of the income collected by the City be dedicated towards affordable housing.
Affordable Housing Impact Statement: GNOHA supported the creation of an Affordable Housing Impact Statement and worked with Councilman Brossett to introduce AHIS legislation.
Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund: Successfully advocated for the City's Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund (NHIF) to be solely dedicated to homeowner and renter rehabilitation in order to create neighborhood stability across the city. GNOHA also supported amending the NHIF to include Short-term Rentals as a revenue source.
Inclusionary Zoning: Worked with the City Planning commission to begin a study on mandatory inclusionary zoning. The City Council approved the Smart Housing Mix Ordinance on October 20th, which instructs the CPC to conduct a public hearing and study on the creation and implementation of a Smart Housing Mix Ordinance that leverages market rate development activity to build and preserve lower-priced housing, such as by requiring or incentivizing the addition of lower-priced homes and apartments within otherwise market-rate developments, and to recommend potential changes to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and other applicable codes, if necessary.
HANO Criminal Background Checks: Successfully pushed for the Housing Authority of New Orleans to implement and enforce its criminal background check policy that it adopted in 2013.
FEMA Flood Zones: GNOHA worked with the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance to advocate for the reclassification of FEMA's flood maps, resulting in the East Bank neighborhoods change to Flood Zone X and a reduction in flood insurance costs.
Road Home Action Plan Amendment 65: GNOHA worked closely with HUD and the Office of Community Development Disaster Recovery Unit on Action Plan Amendment 65 which allows still non-compliant Road Home grantees to eligibly claim interim housing expenses incurred while their homes were being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, and provides additional construction assistance under certain conditions. These measures are intended to provide additional resources for existing Road Home Program grant recipients to return home and become compliant with the program.
Extensive Affordable Housing Funding Advocacy: GNOHA advocated against the reduction of federal funds for affordable housing and community development programs, particularly the HOME program.
Senate Bill 174: Supported advocacy efforts that led to the passage of the Louisiana Violence Against Women Act (SB 174) which provides extra housing protections for victims of domestic violence.
House Bill 610: GNOHA advocated extensively for the passage of this bill, which applies a uniform tax assessment methodology across the state to remove regulatory barriers to affordable housing development in the places where it is needed the most.
Opposition of Senate Bill 288: GNOHA, along with the Mayor's office, rallied extensively against this bill, which failed. This legislation would have repealed HireNOLA which requires certain contractors to prioritize Orleans Parish residents when hiring and to demonstrate good-faith efforts to hire local and disadvantaged workers.
Opposition of Sanctuary Cities Bills: GNOHA, in solidarity with friends at Puentes LatiNola, submitted a policy platform to the State which included opposition to these discriminatory, anti-immigrant bills (HB151 and HB 453). They were both defeated.,
Revised Statute 47:305:59 Successfully advocated for the protection of the nonprofit tax exemption for construction materials, which is vital to the continued success of developer organizations.