Sources at City Hall say that a nonprofit organization tasked by the city in March 07 to remediate homes for elderly and low-income hasnt lived up to its end of the bargain. Many of the homes listed by the New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH http://www.noahinc.org/) as remediated belong to limited liability corporations, not private homeowners, and dont appear to have been remediated. The NOAH application for remediation asks applicants to certify they are the owner/occupants of the home they are requesting assistance for.
As pointed out by WeCouldBeFamous and the intrepid Karen Gadbois over at Squandered Heritage , NOAH has been displaying new signs on gutted homes, bragging of the partnership between NOAH and the city. Unfortunately, some of these same homes are now on the City Demolition List, or Imminent Health Threat list.
Karen Gadbois says she asked NOAH in May for a list of remediated homes and they gave her a list of 700 (according to the March 07 story, NOAH had already completed 350 homes and NOAHs executive director Stacey Jackson said they would soon be completing 50 houses per week). It didnt take long for Gadbois to notice problems with the list.
We started going through the city database and we could see right away that many of the properties didnt have homestead exemptions (something owner/occupied homes would have) and we thought wasnt that part of NOAHs criteria? Literally we could see red flags everywhere.
Like We Could Be Famous, I tried to contact NOAH to see if I could get a list similar to Karens. My calls havent been returned.
And the kicker? According to the City Hall source, NOAH has received $2.6 million for their services from the city. The funds came from federal Community Development Block Grants and the Neighborhood Housing Improvement Fund, which is a voter-approved Orleans Parish tax millage.
Thats right: your tax dollars hard at work, gutting homes so they can be torn down, or possibly helping out a slumlord.