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CA Activists: New Orleans Public Housing Demolition Could Happen Here

December 14, 2007

Oakland, CA - Protesters in California today are joining others across the nation in urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to stop the demolition of 4,500 New Orleans public housing units. HUD wants to replace them with mixed-income neighborhoods, but activists say the move targets working class women of color and their children, who have been trying to reclaim these units since Hurricane Katrina.

Rebecca Lichter with the Katrina Solidarity Network says destroying viable housing with an agenda to create mixed-income neighborhoods is discriminatory in this situation.

"They create a situation where they completely push out working class families and families of color and build these condos. So, I think that what's happening in New Orleans is everyone's struggle."

Civil right attorney Bill Quigley says residents are upset because the city is facing its biggest housing crisis since the Civil War.

"We have 12,000 homeless people in the city of New Orleans, including hundreds of people living openly under the interstate, because we don't have the housing for people."

HUD had been planning to replace the buildings with mixed-income neighborhoods even before Katrina, as part of a national effort to break up pockets of poverty. The agency now says environmental conditions after Katrina make the housing projects unrepairable.

Lori Abbott/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - CA