Following deliberations between New Orleans City Council and members of the Neighbors First for Bywater (NFB) community group, the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) finally received full approval for a proposed development at 4100 Royal Street in the Bywater. This proposed mixed-income development will bring over 130 new housing units to the area, and begin to fill a void in affordable housing units in high-demand New Orleans neighborhoods.
Speaking about the proposed development, City Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer believed it not only contributed to advancing affordable housing, but also to, “ensure that housing is designed and equipped to a standard that New Orleanians can thrive in.” The Bywater represents one of the many New Orleans neighborhoods heavily gentrified post-Katrina, but projects like this one at 4100 Royal Street work to bring residents back into these neighborhoods through affordable solutions. HANO plans to place 82 affordable units in the development, with units available in 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom models. The pricing of the units will be based on the area’s 2019 median income for a family of four: $67,400.
Proposed methods for subsidizing the development’s units have included low-income housing tax credits as well as HANO’s project-based voucher program.
Despite opposition from NFB, the mixed-income development has garnered support from Mayor LaToya Cantrell as well as other advocacy groups such as HousingNOLA. In a statement, Mayor Cantrell praised the deal for creating affordable units in high-demand areas, “near job centers and transit routes.”
The effects of gentrification in the Bywater and similar communities are evident today. Statistics from the Data Center show a nearly 40 percent decrease in the percentage of Black residents in the Bywater between 2000 and 2017. Over the same period, the median income rose from approximately $39,000 to $64,000. Cashauna Hill, Executive Director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, cited the need for projects like this to undo the systems of housing segregation in New Orleans neighborhoods. Further, she stated, ““this has been a very long road… This road needs to lead to approval and completion of this project so that working class and African-American families can again have access to the Bywater neighborhood.”