More than half of New Orleans residents are renters. Among those 181,400 people, according to a recent report from the National Equity Atlas, roughly 60 percent are “rent-burdened,” spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing. Women are disproportionately impacted by housing cost- 72 percent of women of color and 49 percent of white women spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
The report echoes local data. According to the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA), renters statewide have faced a 19 percent increase in the cost of rent since 2011 and renters in New Orleans saw an increase of 23 percent.
If those renter paid what they could afford (less than 30 percent of their income), households would see an average savings of $7,200, according to the report.
“This study further proves what we already know to be true in New Orleans,” said Housing NOLA and GNOHA Director Andreanecia Morris. “We are at an important crossroads. We can choose to stabilize citizens, allow them to contribute to the local economy and change the course of New Orleans next 300 years, or we can allow this trend to continue and undoubtedly force more of our people out of the city they call home.”
More personally, I am thankful that I found a landlord who is also a New Orleans native and former renter, unlike these developers and real estate people who came into the city to make money off the disaster named Katrina. My landlord not only can relate to the struggle of those of us trying to keep afloat, she is considers the economic state of our people. When I first met her and she told me how much the rent was for my 3 bedroom shotgun double, I was shocked after viewing other properties with the rent starting at $1,600 (which is northern rent prices) and she charges less than half of that. She said, her goal was to help returning native New Orleanians to be able to afford to come back home without the worry of not being able to afford to live here. “I’m not out to get rich off my people, I want to help them get to the next level. I look at my house as being a stepping stone for my tenants. I charge low rent to help them, be able to pay the rest of their bills and buy something for themselves. I could have sold to those people, but I refused and did not care about the $150k plus they offered me” I’m thankful to her and I can not imagine how it would be for me had I moved somewhere else.
I honestly feel that the government is allowing these wealthy business people to push us out with the ridiculously high cost to rent a place. On the flip side of that, in neighborhoods that were predominantly low-income black families, a mixture of longtime home owners and renters have been pushed out of their homes and neighborhoods. Houses that were under a $75K are now on the market for $275K and there is no way in the world that the majority of workers here could afford that. Newly renovated homes with similar price tags are all over the once was urban neighborhood, occupied by transplants. I believe the native New Orleanian can see the plan, they are pushing us out, killing our culture and any evidence that we existed in these neighborhoods.
The people who can stop this are too busy pushing the broom, assisting the developers with the removal of the native Black New Orleanians, because they will reap the benefit of fat pockets.
Sources: Gambit New Orleans, National Equity Atlas, Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance, Housing NOLA