By: Andreanecia Morris, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance
After Hurricane Katrina devasted New Orleans’s infrastructure, nonprofit housing builders and community development corporations came together to form the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA) to collaborate in working to rebuild the housing stock. HousingNOLA grew out of our work at GNOHA. It is a 10-year partnership between community leaders and dozens of public, private, and nonprofit organizations working to solve the city’s affordable housing crisis. This group crafted the city’s first-ever 10-year Strategy and Implementation Plan.
We at HousingNOLA support this plan by continuing to provide opportunities for local leaders to listen to the community, the community to educate policymakers on their housing needs, and bring diverse groups of people together to address the changes and challenges to affordable housing throughout New Orleans. Together, GNOHA and HousingNOLA launched the #PutHousingFirst campaign in 2017 to connect residents as partners in efforts to advance affordable housing policies. The campaign facilitates resident advocacy, skill building, and has secured several major policy victories since its launch.
Specifically, advocacy efforts led to Governor Edwards vetoing a bill that would have prevented New Orleans from implementing its Smart Housing Mix Ordinance, a mandatory inclusionary zoning policy, and would revise other voluntary programs. #PutHousingFirst has also impacted local and statewide elections making affordable housing a campaign issue for the first time. This includes its launch of HousingLOUISIANA, a statewide networking alliance linking nine Regional Housing Planning Areas across the state, which engages voters around housing issues to hold policymakers accountable.
Finally, the most recent #PutHousingFirst win came on Thursday, March 28, when the New Orleans City Council approved Ordinance 32,573. This approval was the next step to ensuring the Smart Housing Mix is implemented and a step towards putting housing first in New Orleans.
GNOHA and HousingNOLA’s #PutHousingFirst campaign was nominated for this year’s NLIHC Organizing Awards. Check out previous years’ blogs from Organizing Award winners and nominees.
To learn more about #PutHousingFirst, please visit: http://www.gnoha.org/main/put_housing_first
This post is part of a series featuring blogs from NLIHC Organizing Awards winners and top nominees.