NEW ORLEANS —
Sharon Denson calls a small motel room in New Orleans East her home.
“It’s going on three weeks and I’m low on funds,” Denson said.
Denson is also a single mother and works a full-time job.Those dollars, she says, aren’t enough to pay rent in New Orleans.
“The rent is ridiculously high. I don’t have enough to pay $1,100 to $1,200. I’m not looking for a handout from the government. I’m just tired of working so hard and I can’t get nowhere," Denson said. "All I need is a helping hand!”
Denson was in the room when Mayor Latoya Cantrell's press conference came on television about affordable housing.
“I shook my head. I really shook my head cause I’m like, you’re stating all of these facts on TV, but in reality, it’s not happening!” Denson said.
The mayor’s office is partnering with the Louisiana Housing Corporation to start developing affordable housing throughout the city.
Something that the city has working in their favor is land. The city owns a lot of land that it can use to build affordable housing on.
The city is also getting more than $600 million to go towards affordable housing and homelessness, and they’re already looking to develop 642 affordable properties with it.
“It means a house that all people can afford,” Cantrell said. “No matter what their price point is. It is our belief and priority that we are going to activate affordability throughout the city. Whether that’s Treme, Irish Channel for example. Even areas in Lakeview.”
We told her about Denson’s situation.
"Well one, she’s not alone. And that’s unfortunate. And that’s why we do have an affordability crisis in our city that will take multiple, multiple tools to meet people where they are. Cause not everyone is in the same place. But they do need a portion of help. That’s exactly why in my legislative agenda in working with our delegation, that we were able to pass Senate Bill 79 and 80. Creating, again, that constitutional amendment that would give the city of New Orleans greater flexibility to create its own tax incentives to develop more affordable housing, aligned with the needs on the ground, so that it can speak directly to our resident you mentioned.”
Cantrell says she’s also trying several other changes on the local level.
“It’s exactly why the City of New Orleans included in the 500 mills that we want to ask the voters to approve come November that it will allow us to be a city like other municipalities across the country to begin to develop their own affordable housing through multiple tools. Multiple partners like NORA, like FANO and the like." Cantrell said. " So we can do this, but it takes a concerted effort, it takes multiple tools that we need to have in our toolbox and I’ve demonstrated my ability to push for them and I tell you, if we come out well come this fall the city will have greater tools than we’ve ever had before.”