DHS Seal - FEMA    
FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
Comment on "Public Notice NHPA/NEPA1
Seeking Public Comment for FEMA Funded Construction
of the Mazant-Royal Housing Development,
4100 Royal Street, New Orleans
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Name: Name redacted at the request of the author
City: New Orleans
Mazant/Royal Mixed-Income Complex
Comments: We are in full support of the Mazant/Royal 4-story, 136 unit development proposal being put forward by ITEX. Since 2000, the average income of the once redlined neighborhood, has almost doubled from $38,240 to $62,418, outpacing the average income of the city and drastically increasing rents and home values. In fact, the neighborhood (ripe with job opportunities, reliable transit options, and commerce) has gone from 68% black to 72% white since 2000, on top of still being short roughly 1,500 people who were displaced by Katrina. Historically, working class African Americans lived in the Bywater, and the development will allow more working class New Orleanians to move into an area of opportunity. We must continue to affirmatively further fair housing, as committed by the City, and allow residents to move into this area that was once redlined.

New Orleans is currently in an affordable housing crisis where 63% of New Orleans renters are cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing. We must seize every opportunity to create safe and decent public housing. We have lost more affordable housing opportunities than we created over the course of the past two years, resulting in New Orleans' homeless population rising after 11 years of decreases. The rise was mostly due to an increased percentage of resident becoming homeless for the first time, and UNITY can't help residents unless they've been homeless for months. The 2019 HousingNOLA Report Card reported that overall efforts earned New Orleans a "D" letter grade for the current state of housing.

It is ironic that newer residents of the Bywater neighborhood who have changed the demographics and feel of the area are now upset by the notion of mixed income affordable housing being created in their neighborhood. There is a sense of entitlement that comes with the idea that they have a right to change neighborhoods, but the city and local government does not have the right in turn to create affordable housing units to house the people who these folks have pushed out. I hope that FEMA will do the right thing to house lower and middle income people in New Orleans who need affordable housing, rather than prioritizing the wishes of wealthier outsiders who have moved to the neighborhood more recently and are only concerned with their own preferences and having a dog park when there is a major newly renovated park 2 blocks away.