New Orleans—New Orleans rentals are still plagued by major health and safety issues, according to Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center analysis of new U.S. Census data released this month. The recently released American Housing Survey data shows that in 2015, close to 5,000 rental homes had major problems, including: lack of electricity, broken or disconnected plumbing, or holes in the walls or floors.
“Despite steep increases in rental income for landlords, families who rent in New Orleans still live with leaks, mold, and rodents. We applaud City Councilmembers’ support for Healthy Homes to improve conditions and protect tenants,” said Maxwell Ciardullo of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, in reference to the ordinance passed last week from the Community Development Committee to the full City Council.
The new data also highlights the health impacts of substandard housing for children. In New Orleans, 5,600 rental units are estimated to have rodents and 2,300 have mold. Both of these conditions increase the risk of respiratory illness and more than one quarter of all renter families with children (ages 5-17) have an asthmatic child in the home. Children in these families accounted for 839 emergency room visits in the past year. “The data demonstrates that housing quality has huge impacts on residents’ health. If we are to solve this crisis, we can’t continue to only treat symptoms such as asthma and respiratory disease. We have to treat the underlying causes, and that means supporting Healthy Homes,“ said Dr. George Hobor of the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI).