Halt New Orleans Public Housing Demolition!

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Halt New Orleans Public Housing Demolition!
By: National Economic and Social Rights Initiative--NESRI (New York)
21 November 2007
 

Atlanta - More than 40 human rights organizations today decried the scheduled demolition of 3,000 public housing units in New Orleans. The groups have issued a letter to U.S.

Representative Maxine Waters, urging her continued leadership on behalf of public housing residents by finalizing dates for nationwide congressional hearings. The letter, part of a national campaign for passage of the Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act, was also sent to Louisiana Senator David Vitter and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

"To demolish affordable housing without sufficient remaining low-income housing stock is not only irresponsible, but a violation of international human rights standards," said Jared Feuer, southern regional director of Amnesty International USA.

In their letter, the organizations note the bleak situation facing public housing across the nation, most prominently represented by the imminent demolition of 3,000 public housing units in New Orleans despite conflicting expert findings that the units are sound. In preparation for demolition, contractors have begun emptying apartments and discarding the personal property of residents without their knowledge or consent, including photographs, letters and social security cards.

"Every moment we fail to act is another unit demolished, another grandmother evicted, or another child who finds him or herself doing homework in a shelter. Our nation and human rights principles have long recognized the right to housing, and we call on our public leaders to take on this potent issue," said Catherine Albisa, executive director of the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative (NESRI).

According to international human rights standards, governments must provide specific safeguards with respect to housing for those who have been internally displaced by disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement mandate that host governments facilitate the voluntary return of the displaced to their homes or places of habitual residence in safety and with dignity.

[The letter to Representative Waters follows.]

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16 November 2007

Representative Maxine Waters, urging her continued leadership on behalf of public housing residents by finalizing dates for nationwide congressional hearings. The letter, part of a national campaign for passage of the Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act, was also sent to Louisiana Senator David Vitter and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

"To demolish affordable housing without sufficient remaining low-income housing stock is not only irresponsible, but a violation of international human rights standards," said Jared Feuer, southern regional director of Amnesty International USA.

In their letter, the organizations note the bleak situation facing public housing across the nation, most prominently represented by the imminent demolition of 3,000 public housing units in New Orleans despite conflicting expert findings that the units are sound. In preparation for demolition, contractors have begun emptying apartments and discarding the personal property of residents without their knowledge or consent, including photographs, letters and social security cards.

"Every moment we fail to act is another unit demolished, another grandmother evict

Themes
• Access to natural resources
• Access to natural resources
• Access to natural resources
• Accompanying social processes
• Accompanying social processes
• Adverse possession
• Advocacy
• Advocacy
• Advocacy
• Architecture
• Architecture
• Armed / ethnic conflict
• Armed / ethnic conflict
• Basic services
• Basic services
• Basic services
• Children
• Children
• Commodification
• Commodification
• Cultural Heritage
• Cultural Heritage
• Demographic manipulation
• Destruction of habitat
• Destruction of habitat
• Destruction of habitat
• Disability
• Disability
• Disaster mitigation
• Disaster mitigation
• Discrimination
• Discrimination
• Discrimination
• Displaced
• Displaced
• Displaced
• Displacement
• Displacement
• Displacement
• Dispossession
• Dispossession
• Dispossession
• Education
• Education
• Elderly
• Elderly
• Energy
• Energy
• Epidemics, diseases
• Epidemics, diseases
• ESC rights
• ESC rights
• ESC rights
• Extraterritorial obligations
• Extraterritorial obligations
• Fact finding mission/field research
• Farmers/Peasants
• Financialization
• Financialization
• Financialization
• Food (rights, sovereignty, crisis)
• Food (rights, sovereignty, crisis)
• Forced evictions
• Forced evictions
• Forced evictions
• Gentrification
• Gentrification
• Health
• Health
• Historic heritage sites
• Historic heritage sites
• Homeless
• Homeless
• Homeless
• Housing crisis
• Housing rights
• Housing rights
• Housing rights
• Human rights
• Human rights
• Human rights
• Immigrants
• Immigrants
• Indigenous peoples
• Indigenous peoples
• Informal settlements
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• Research
• Research
• Right to the city
• Right to the city
• Security of tenure
• Security of tenure
• Security of tenure
• Stateless
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• Subsidies
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• Temporary shelter
• Temporary shelter
• Tenants
• Tenants
• UN system
• UN system
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• Unemployed
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• Urban planning
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• Water&sanitation
• Women
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