Over the last couple of years it’s been very clear that gentrification is happening in New Orleans.  The city has picked and chosen which areas it deems valuable and I’m not sure HOW lower income tenants can’t see the writing on the wall that they are In.The.Way.  Well they’re about to receive a very clear message with the rise of in the cost of public housing in New Orleans, not just New Orleans but all over the nation. Downtowns across America are getting a makeover!


The Story~

From The New Orleans Advocate

The cost of living in public housing in Orleans Parish will more than double and in some cases more than triple for some new tenants under new rental rates adopted Tuesday by the Housing Authority of New Orleans’ one-man board.

The minimum rates for some existing tenants also will rise, though less steeply. Some will see a 35 percent jump in their rent.

Most current tenants, however, do not pay a flat rent and instead dedicate 30 percent of their income to housing and utilities, which in many cases is less expensive than paying the flat rate. Tenants are allowed to choose between the two payment methods.

The higher minimum rates are necessary to comply with a new federal regulation that defines the flat rate for public housing as 80 percent of an area’s fair market rent for their units, officials said.

The rule change was mandated in January as part of the 2014 federal fiscal appropriations bill. It required that public housing agencies nationwide set new fees by June 1.

HANO housing residents currently pay much less than fair market rent for their units, said Marilyn O’Sullivan, the HUD staffer serving as HANO’s executive director.

According to the agency, the current flat rent for a one-bedroom unit in HANO’s public housing program is $254. Under the new rent guidelines, the same one-bedroom unit will rent for $612, or 80 percent of its $765 fair market rent.

The fair market rent is based on the rent charged for “comparable units” in the private rental market, according to a HANO memo explaining the change.

“It is also equal to the estimated rent for which a housing authority could promptly lease the public housing unit after preparation for occupancy,” the memo says.

When the rule change goes into effect, the flat rate for a two-bedroom property will increase from $299 per month to $758, a three-bedroom unit from $373 to $952, a four-bedroom unit from $418 to $1,440 and a five-bedroom unit from $481 to $1,656.

The new rates will apply only to families new to public housing after June 1, O’Sullivan said.

Existing public housing residents also will pay higher rates at some point. But the rent for those residents cannot increase by more than 35 percent in any year, according to the new HUD regulation. That means a family currently renting a one-bedroom will see its rent rise from $254 to $342 later this year.

The increases for existing residents are not scheduled to go into effect until HUD provides guidance on how to implement them, O’Sullivan said. That could take from 60 to 90 days.

O’Sullivan said she expects the change will not affect the majority of HANO residents, who have agreed to dedicate 30 percent of their income to housing and utilities. According to HANO, just 17 percent of public housing tenants are on flat-rate rents.

“What I imagine is as those flat rents go up over time, more and more folks here that are currently on flat rents will go back to a percent of their income,” O’Sullivan said.

The Q

I wonder how long it’s going to take public housing residents to figure out that they’re coming for those income percentage payment options next? Every time I predict something everyone calls me a conspiracist, but I know that no one thought there were turning the French Quarter and CBD to share it with the Negros.  Hell, they stopped the new trolley at Canal st. so obviously that you can see where they had to really think hard how they were gonna justify it not running all the way down rampart giving the blacks of the ninth ward easier access to downtown.

I can’t even really put all the blame on some localized New Orleans agenda against the poor though. As you read, this is a nation-wide mandate that all states have to comply with.  It does seem kind of odd that our government would pass a law saying that public housing tenants must pay 80% of the market value on units. Actually…lemme think about that.  Nope, it actually doesn’t seem that odd that our government is pricing out the poor from down-towns across America.  It actually goes right in line with the war on the working class for the last couple years. I mean…why stop at 80%? Why not the whole thing? 

Trust me I’m not one of those bleeding hearts who thinks half the city should be projects either, but a regulation like this basically wipes out public housing as we know it. If tenants can pay 80% of the market value of units in the city then they can pay 100% of the rental rate on units outside of the city, and that’s just what they are going to push them to do. No one needs to believe that they rebuilt all of those developments only to let poor people live there.

I’m sure that option to to choose to pay 30% of market rent as out of a paycheck is coming up for a vote somewhere soon, and when it does you can be assured that it won’t be renewed. And just like that…no more poor people in downtown.

Qmunity how do you feel about the federal regulation to charge public housing resident 80% of market value?  And attack on the poor?  Or enough of a free ride?

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Vitamin Q (VQ) is a writer, blogger personality, and a social commentator. He irreverently analyzes how social issues affect individuals in modern society by using sarcasm, humor, and intellect, creating his own unique blend of Southern SHADE, purely for the purpose of helping like minds cope. “I say it so you don’t have to!”
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