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Delivering Equitable Development to a Recovering Louisiana - A State Policy Guide for 2008 and Beyond Policy Link)

Delivering Equitable Development to a Recovering Louisiana - A State Policy Guide for 2008 and Beyond Policy Link)

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Published by: annscann on Oct 30, 2008
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Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation
A Policy Agenda for Achieving Equitable Development in Louisiana
PRINCIPLE 1: Ensure that all residents can live incommunities of opportunity.
Support robust affordable housing programs andpolicies for the state’s workers and families.Take concrete steps to eliminate discrimination inrental and homebuyer markets.
PRINCIPLE 2: Equitably distribute the amenitiesand infrastructure investments that make allcommunities livable.
Use infrastructure investments as opportunities toincrease physical access to opportunities for low-income communities—transit access, quality schools,and job centers.
PRINCIPLE 3: Prioritize health and safety concerns.
Create incentives for the location of quality grocerystores and produce markets in poor neighborhoods.Remove garbage facilities, toxic waste dumps, andlandfills from low-income neighborhoods.Locate parks and bike and pedestrian paths toincrease access to physical activities.
PRINCIPLE 4: Ensure responsible resettlement orrelocation for displaced Gulf Coast residents. 
Provide appropriate and sufficient resources fordisplaced residents trying to return home.Expand the types of transitional housingarrangements and supports for displaced families.
PRINCIPLE 5: Restore and strengthen the capacity ofcommunity-based organizations in Louisiana.
Allow nonprofit organizations to compete for asubstantially larger proportion of governmentresources.Increase the technical assistance and resources toorganizations assisting Road Home clients and otherresidential property owners.
PRINCIPLE 6: Create wealth-building opportunities toeffectively address poverty.
Expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to10 percent of the federal EITC.Expand the Individual Development Account programto encourage saving for homes, education, andentrepreneurship.
PRINCIPLE 7: Strengthen the political voice ofdispersed and low-income residents.
Facilitate the voting of displaced residents.Engage residents to have a real say in how programsare designed.
PRINCIPLE 8: Create a system for meaningful,sustained community oversight of the multibilliondollar federal investment that will be spent by bothprivate and public sectors.
Ensure that all recovery and non-recoveryinfrastructure investments are awarded in atransparent manner and include enforceablebenchmarks for community benefits (jobs, communityamenities, etc).
PRINCIPLE 9: Leverage rebuilding expenditures tocreate jobs with livable wages that go first to localresidents.
Ensure all major development projects havehigher local hiring and small business utilizationrequirements.Create targeted jobs program in key redevelopmentindustries.
PRINCIPLE 10: Develop a communications andtechnology infrastructure to facilitate informationflow to people who are recovering and rebuilding.
Increase coordination among federal, state, andlocal agencies and nonprofits to streamline recoveryservices through key information networks.Support comprehensive resources such asLouisianaRebuilds.info to provide useful informationto the recovery.
Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation
Ensure that all residents can live incommunities of opportunity.
 To make meaningful theright to return—while also addressing the needs of low-income Louisianans not affected by the storms—the stateneeds to dedicate additional housing resources beyondthe Road Home. Louisiana needs robust programs thatcreate quality, safe, and attractive housing in opportunity-rich neighborhoods that are affordable to a broad rangeof households.
The Need
The U.S. Census reported in 2006 that over one-thirdof Louisiana renters were spending more than half oftheir household income on housing.Two years after the storms, almost 96,000 displacedhouseholds are still receiving temporary housingassistance or reside in FEMA trailers.
 High rents continue to be a problem in urban areasthroughout the state.Housing recovery resources provided by the federalgovernment will meet only a fraction of the statewidehousing needs. These resources will:Only restore 30 percent of rental units lost in thestorms (approximately 30,000 of the over 100,000rental homes lost);Serve few of the extremely low-income householdsthat lost their homes;Not cover the increased post-storm costs of insuranceand construction; andProvide few funds to areas not affected by thehurricanes.
An Equitable Response
The housing crisis generated by the storms, andthe resulting federal resources coming to the statenecessitated a crash course in state-of-the-art affordablehousing policies and programs for state and local leaders.This developing knowledge must be fostered to raisethe housing standard for families across Louisiana. Byleveraging federal funds, allocating ongoing affordablehousing resources, and providing incentives fordevelopers and localities to place this housing neartransit, good schools, and services, the state can helpits residents be owners and renters of quality and safehousing. And, through the expansion of state resourcesdirected at housing, the state can provide ongoingeconomic growth stimulus.
Policy Goals and Action Steps
Support affordable housing programs and policies for the state’s workers and families.
Establish a state department of housing to assesshousing needs statewide, establish programs to meetthose needs, and document progress.Establish a substantial, continuous revenue source forthe Louisiana Housing Trust Fund.
Take concrete steps to eliminate discrimination in rental and homebuyer markets.
Foster community-based entities to build support forthe development of quality affordable housing.Assign affordable housing goals to localities andallocate infrastructure funds to jurisdictions meetingtheir targets.
Principle 1: Ensure communities of opportunity
Louisiana Housing Trust Fund
Louisiana joined 36 other states when the legislature created a statewide housing trust fund in 2003—though it had nodedicated revenue until 2007, when it received a one-time infusion of $25 million. Under the leadership of the fund’sadministering agency, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, a broad group of housing leaders have been engaged toinform the program design. The first year of the fund will prioritize housing production, provide homes for extremely low-income families, and ensure statewide distribution of projects. By including community advocates and national experts inthe program design process, the agency will benefit from a deeper understanding both of local needs and of the successesof other trust funds throughout the nation. Their goal is to build legislative support for a sustainable long-term housingprogram by allocating recurring revenue to the trust fund.

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