[News] Take action to save NOLA public housing
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 7 11:57:57 EST 2007
Take action to save NOLA public housing
by Facing South -- FS;
South; December 06, 2007
Next Monday, Dec. 10, is International Human Rights Day. It's also
the day when activists in New Orleans are calling for actions
opposing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans
to tear down more than 4,600 public housing units in four complexes
across the city -- while replacing them with private, mixed-income
developments that will set aside only 744 apartments for low-income people.
The decision to demolish these public complexes, which suffered only
relatively minor damage [PDF] during Hurricane Katrina, comes as
rents across the city have doubled since the storm -- as has the
The activists are asking concerned citizens across the country to
join the actions in New Orleans or to take action at home. According
to a statement from Kali Akuno, director of the Stop the Demolition Coalition:
What is at stake with the demolition of public housing in New
Orleans is more than just the loss of housing units: it destroys any
possibility for affordable housing in New Orleans for the foreseeable
future. Without access to affordable housing, thousands of working
class New Orleanians will be denied their human right to return.
Although this situation is unique and urgent in the city of New
Orleans, it does not occur in isolation. The plans for redevelopment
here are part of a national assault on public housing, in which tens
of thousands of homes have been demolished in the past decade.
Organizers are asking supporters from across the country to organize
demonstrations at local HUD offices and other government buildings.
They are also asking them to make calls to government officials
demanding the reopening of public housing in New Orleans. Among those
leaders they are asking people to call:
* New Orleans City Council Member Stacy Head, who has been a leading
force in pushing for the tear-downs. Her number is 504-658-1020.
* New Orleans City Council Member Shelley Midura, who is being asked
to oppose the demolitions and support the reopening of public
housing. Her number is 504-658-1010.
* D.H. Griffin, the North Carolina-based contractor hired to demolish
the Lafitte complex. For locations of the company's offices across
the South, click here
The toll-free number is 888-336-3366.
* U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who's blocking passage of the Gulf
Coast Housing Recovery Act (Senate Bill 1668). Sponsored by his
colleague, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the measure would require any
demolished public housing units to be replaced by other units
available to low-income residents. Vitter can be reached in
Washington at 202-224-4623 and New Orleans at 504-589-2753.
* Members of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Committee, where SB 1668 is currently stuck. They are Daniel Akaka
(D-Hawaii) at 202-224-6361, Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) at 202- 224-5941,
Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) at 202-224-5623, Robert Bennett (R-Utah) at
202-224-5444, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) at 202-224-2315, Jim Bunning
(R-Ky.) at 202-224-4343, Tom Carper (D- Del.) at 202-224-2441, Robert
Casey (D-Pa.) at 202-224-6324, Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) at 202-224-6142,
Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) at 202-224-2823, Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)
at 202-224-6342, Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) at 202-224-3424, Chuck Hagel
(R-Neb.) at 202-224-4224, Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) at 202-224-1638, Mel
Martinez (R-Fla.) at 202-224-3041, Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) at
202-224-4744, Jack Reed (D-R.I.) at 202-224-4642, Charles Schumer
(D-N.Y.) at 202-224-0420, Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) at 202-224-5744,
John Sununu (R-N.H.) at 202-224-2841 and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) at 202-224-2644.
Send information about any solidarity actions to
action at peopleshurricane.org with "Solidarity" in the subject line. If
you have any questions, contact the Stop the Demolition Coalition at
action at peopleshurricane.org or call 504-458-3494. For more
information on the issues at stake and planned protest actions, visit
the websites of Defend New Orleans Public Housing
Justice for New Orleans
and the People's Hurricane Relief Fund
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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