Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NOAH's Lark

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 9:58 PM

Sources at City Hall say that a nonprofit organization tasked by the city in March ’07 to remediate homes for elderly and low-income hasn’t 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 don’t 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 NOAH’s executive director Stacey Jackson said they would soon be completing 50 houses per week). It didn’t 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 didn’t have homestead exemptions (something owner/occupied homes would have) and we thought ‘wasn’t that part of NOAH’s 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 Karen’s. My calls haven’t 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.

That’s right: your tax dollars hard at work, gutting homes so they can be torn down, or possibly helping out a slumlord.



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