September 24, 2007

Chairman Dodd Questions HUD Approach to Public Housing Demolition in New Orleans

Requests Assurance from Secretary Jackson that Public Housing Will Not Be Demolished Unless HUD Will Replace and Revitalize Buildings

Washington, D.C. – Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, late last week sent a letter to Alphonso Jackson, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), expressing his concern about HUD’s approval of plans to demolish four major public housing sites in the city of New Orleans.
    “While I understand the need to quickly move forward with public housing demolition and redevelopment in order to help revitalize this important city,” Dodd said in his letter, “I have grave concerns about HUD moving forward with the demolition of pubic housing units without adequate plans to ensure that replacement housing is developed for low-income families.”
Chairman Dodd and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) authored and introduced a comprehensive bill earlier this year to help people and families hard-hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita rebuild, strengthen and preserve their communities, homes, and lives. The Gulf Coast Recovery Act of 2007 would ensure that public housing is replaced while providing needed flexibility so that the housing authority and developers can create vibrant, mixed-income communities. The legislation would also authorize funds to repair, rehabilitate, and replace lost or damaged affordable housing; continue temporary housing assistance to evacuees; and provide rental assistance so that families living in unhealthy FEMA trailers can move into safe and decent housing. Among other things, it would provide funding to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority to acquire vacant and abandoned properties to jumpstart community redevelopment efforts. Dodd and Landrieu’s bill is supported by the NAACP, the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, ACORN, the National Association of Homebuilders, and many local and national organizations. Tomorrow, the Banking Committee will also hold a hearing to examine housing needs in the Gulf Coast two years after Hurricane Katrina. Senator Landrieu will serve as one of the witnesses to discuss the Gulf Coast Recovery Act of 2007.
Click here for the full text of the letter .