Will and Jackie’s One-Two Punch
By Green Coast on 30 Aug 2016
What’s pertinent info and what should be on your radar? Like you, Green Coast President Will Bradshaw and GCE Services’ Partner Jackie Dadakis spend a lot of time slogging through the mounds of data, articles, papers and reports.
Jackie pays close attention to the latest energy policy news and what it means or can mean. Will monitors affordable housing news and policy improvements and changes. Their “One-Two Punch”; connects you with what they’re reading and seeing on a New Orleans level and national level.
There has been much discussion recently about the new density bonus policy put in place by the City Council, specifically as it relates to the proposed 382-unit apartment building to be built along the Lafitte Greenway. From my vantage, this debate has had the unfortunate effect of pitting allies in the push for more affordable housing against one another.
In the 11 years since hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the levee failures, there has been much to celebrate in the New Orleans recovery, and rising real estate prices is often billed as one signal of our strength (and we are generally pleased by it around here). But as a result of those rising prices, we have gone from being a very affordable city to an expensive one, especially if you compare rents to average wages.
The density bonus currently in place will help the affordable housing challenge, and we applaud the Council, specifically Councilmember Cantrell, for their leadership on this front. But we need to do more as a city to meet this challenge head on, and there are proven ways to be even more aggressive on this issue. My hope is that this debate will spur intense discussion around inclusionary housing policies between the Council, the Mayor’s office, the development community, and housing advocates. There is a pathway to common ground by looking at how we can build more affordable rental units AND create more affordable ownership opportunities.
We could learn a lot from the experience of other places. In the late 90s and early 2000s, I worked with the Board of Commissioners in Davidson, North Carolina to implement an inclusionary housing policy that helped spur affordable housing, for sale and rent, throughout Davidson.
I know that our partner at the Pythian, the Crescent City Community Land Trust, has been working with the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance and the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center to push a conversation about inclusionary housing policies in the City. What a great outcome if the debate on this project elevated that discussion, and as a City we started looking more aggressively at how to make New Orleans affordable for everyone who wants to call it home.
I’m lucky enough to work with some great people on the RideNewOrleans board. We recently published our latest report State of Transit 2016. New Orleans has made some great progress, adding 13 percent transit service in the last year, but we still have work to do.
Can we commit as a region to increasing transit service 8% a year from now until 2020? I sure think so!
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