Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Among the most depressing of the myriad stories about post-Katrina New Orleans is the uncertainty of public housing in the city. A federal judge recently ruled that a lawsuit by an advocacy group for public housing residents will go to trial later this year. The Advancement Project asserts that HUD and the Housing Authority Of New Orleans are violating both landlord-tenant law by not allowing residents to return to their buildings and federal housing law by discriminating against black people in government decisionmaking.
HUD's plan is to demolish some of the old public housing units and to replace some of them with new housing that mixes people of various types of income. It is no doubt true that some public housing buildings were not significantly damaged by Katrina. Nonetheless, for anyone who saw the deplorable state of much of New Orleans's public housing before Katrina, the prospect of re-working how the very poor are housed in New Orleans seems too promising to pass up. It is hard to disagree with the Washington Post's editorial that laments the lawsuit's effect of delaying the new plans.
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