People Get Ready

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City profiting by gutpunching displaced New Orleans homeowners?

Posted by schroeder915 on October 6, 2006

Who in their right mind would enter this flood-destroyed building? Who, in particular in in the Lower Ninth Ward, could afford to have it gutted by a private contractor?

Demolition Process And Notification
Exhibit B – Home/Property #63
Seven (7) Day Notification Properties
Description: 1800 Block of Forstall St.
City Lat/Long: N 29.97018; W 90.0187
PHRF Lat/Long: N 29.97017; W 90.01873
PHRF UTM: 15R 0787688 3319221

The City of New Orleans gives official notification that it intends to demolish or haul away the home/property located at 1800 Block of Forstall St., between the streets of N. Roman St. and N. Prieur St.. The City of New Orleans has determined that this home/property is in the right of way and must be removed. A legal owner who disputes the proposed demolition must present their objections in writing to the Department of Safety and Permits of the City of New Orleans before the seven (7) working days are up. The City of New Orleans makes no legal representation that relief will or will not be granted.

But wait — what’s this? The city is going to use CDBG money to help nonprofits, and to pay contractors for housegutting, but it’s going to punish homeowners who don’t do it themselves, and demand that they reimburse the city?

Bruce Eggler, “N.O. begins second phase of gutting law,” The Times Picayune:

City to offer aid

Faciane and Brenda Breaux, a chief deputy city attorney in charge of housing programs, said the city recognizes the problem and will soon offer to help such nonprofits by providing them with supplies, equipment and meals for their volunteer workers.

They said the city will issue a request for proposals to such groups next week, asking them to demonstrate their capacity to take advantage of such assistance and to keep the sorts of records required of groups getting government aid.

In addition, the city eventually will hire certified contractors to take care of properties whose owners cannot be found or who are unable or unwilling to remediate them. The contractors will be chosen by competitive bid after all the administrative hearings are held and the city knows how many properties it must take care of itself, Faciane and Breaux said.

The contractors will be paid with federal Community Development Block Grant money, and liens will be placed against the properties, they said.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to offer assistance to homeowners up front? Moreover, isn’t the city double-dipping by taking CDBG money, and then fining homeowners for the work the city was already compensated to do?

Not necessarily related … ahem … this might be an appropriate time to further investigate — as Dambala has been writing — what Ray Nagin’s role and personal benefit is in AFO Investments, the real estate development firm he entered into with his former campaign finance director, David White.

Tags: | | | | | | | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Ray Nagin | Recall Ray Nagin | Hurricane Katrina One Year Anniversary

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7 Responses to “City profiting by gutpunching displaced New Orleans homeowners?”

  1. I remember some vague promises about the deadline being loosened or pushed back for the lower ninth ward. Am I remembering incorrectly, or were they just vague promises?

  2. Schroeder said

    I remember such a commitment as well, but the posts on the city Web site belie that promise.

  3. That particular house can’t be gutted, it needs to be demolished. And regardless of who actually drives the bulldozer, either the owner or the taxpayers have to pay for it.

    The City web site does not belie the promise, it puts it in writing. Click on “Good Neighbor Program”, click on “Frequently Asked Questions”, it’s question #8:

    I have property that is located in the lower Ninth Ward, does this apply to me?
    Owner occupied residential properties and residential rental properties located in the lower Ninth Ward and owned by persons sixty-five years of age have been deemed hardship cases and are exceptions to the building remediation requirements.

    http://secure.cityofno.com/portal.aspx?portal=37&tabid=28

  4. Schroeder said

    Thanks for the clarification Ray. True, demolition and housegutting are separate issues.

    Demolition Exhibit FAQ:
    “I have property that is located in the lower Ninth Ward, does this apply to me?
    Owner occupied residential properties and residential rental properties located in the lower Ninth Ward and owned by persons sixty-five years of age have been deemed hardship cases and are exceptions to the building remediation requirements.”

    Nevertheless, for all other homeowners, it still seems worthy of questioning why the city is being reimbursed for gutting and possibly demolition, but charging homeowners for the service. I still contend that the city could have been more pro-active up front to alleviate the grief, and to get the process of rebuilding moving much sooner, and much faster.

  5. It does “and”, not “or”. I agree with a deadline, but considering how that areas east of the canal were so slow in getting other services, it’s ridiculous for them to have the same deadline. Houses aren’t even legally habitable without running water; at least that used to be the local ordinance.

  6. Schroeder said

    I agree. I’m for a deadline too, but my gut reaction is that the city’s blanket application of the ordinance (with the noted exceptions) doesn’t address the underlying reasons why people may not be able to deal with their damaged properties.

  7. I’ve really got to start proofreading my comments; that was spposed to be it does say “and.” Must of changed my mind about wording while typing the rest of the sentence.

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