5. Activate Community Support
"Recognizing that if we want to make an improvement in cities, we have to start with the residents. Respect people in the community enough to expose them to data, innovation, policy and advocacy. When we get the ball going, it’s the power of the people."
Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence, PolicyLink
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it seemed that everyone had a plan to help displaced New Orleanians find sustainable housing. Yet amid all of the plans and studies, action was slow to take hold.
That’s when the community stepped in. A group of more than 1,800 New Orleanians came together to create HousingNOLA, a partnership working to solve New Orleans’ affordable housing crisis, which created a comprehensive 10-year housing strategy for the City of New Orleans. With the support of JPMorgan Chase, HousingNOLA and its Lenders Roundtable then developed a Community Development Finance Plan that outlines the financial costs and funding necessary to support HousingNOLA’s 10-year plan.
HousingNOLA, NewCorp and LiftFund created a formal partnership that aims to introduce innovative affordable housing development strategies to meet residents’ housing needs while retaining the community’s culture. These strategies include working with minority- and women-owned contractors, property owners and developers to build up the capacity of local talent so that typically underrepresented community members can benefit from the new development.
The community-driven process has given residents a voice when they have often felt like they didn’t have one. At the same time, HousingNOLA is ensuring that the city understands how to meet the needs of residents and better address the problems of crime and violence often caused by a lack of opportunity, including affordable housing.