[News] Take action to save NOLA public housing

Anti-Imperialist News 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 
homeless population.

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 

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