In The News › Report: N.O. subsidized units up 21 percent

Report: N.O. subsidized units up 21 percent

NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Governmental Research today released a new report looking at a rapidly growing – and controversial – segment of the local housing market.

The nonprofit research organization’s report, “The House that Uncle Sam Built: The Continued Expansion of Subsidized Housing in New Orleans,” found that the number of subsidized units in New Orleans jumped from 19,865 in 2005 to 23,999 in 2009, a 21 percent increase.

BGR projects that, by 2012:

- The number of subsidized rental units in New Orleans will more than double, rising from approximately 15,800 units pre-Katrina to approximately 35,700 units. The increase will occur on a population base significantly below pre-Katrina levels.

- Subsidized rental units as a percentage of all housing will rise from 10 percent pre-Katrina to 25 percent.

- Subsidized rental housing will assist more of the poorest households than before the storm, and a far greater number of low- and moderate-income households with incomes between 40 percent and 80 percent of the area median income. BGR estimates that units for very low-income households will increase by 3,600, or 22 percent, over pre-Katrina levels.

- Although it will have only 27 percent of the region’s population, New Orleans will have 70 percent of the subsidized housing in the region.

“Subsidized rental housing can be an asset or a liability,” BGR Chairman Hans Jonassen said. “Particularly now that the (city’s) master plan process is under way, policymakers need to get a handle on the data and work toward ensuring the subsidized housing supply is sized appropriately to the overall market.”•

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