City Touts Progress in Fight Against Blight

article by Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans | photo by Charlie London

New Orleans received exciting news this week in the fight against blight in our city.

As of March 2012, there are an estimated 35,700 blighted homes and empty lots in New Orleans, down from 43,755 in September 2010, as indicated by United States Postal Service (USPS) data. This means the city of New Orleans is no longer the most blighted city in America. According to The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, the continued reduction in blight since 2010 is attributable to a strong economy and ongoing population growth complemented by the focused efforts of City agencies to bring properties into compliance.

You can read the entire report at www.gnocdc.org.

Nearly two years ago, our administration announced a new,
aggressive blight strategy aimed at reducing blighted properties by
10,000 by 2014. Since then, our tracking indicates 4,930 properties
have been remediated through our effort. These new numbers validate
that we are well on our way to achieving our goal.
Keep up with our progress through BlightSTAT. Click here for
more information on BlightSTAT meetings
.
Sincerely,

Mitchell J. Landrieu
Mayor
City of New Orleans

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Drop in New Orleans blight marks significant progress: Editorial

Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 7:02 AM
By Editorial page staff, The Times-Picayune

New Orleans no longer tops the nation’s list of most blighted
cities, and though that’s not nearly enough to declare this chronic
problem solved, it shows we’re making tremendous progress.
The Greater New Orleans Data Center, in an analysis using U.S.
Postal Service data, estimated that 8,000 properties in the city
were repaired or rebuilt between September 2010 and March 2011. For
any urban area, that’s a significant bite off blight. Indeed, that
caused New Orleans to drop behind Detroit and Flint, Mich., which
now have a larger percentage of ramshackle or abandoned properties.

Much of the progress came as Mayor Mitch Landrieu launched an
initiative to target this massive problem, and the mayor deserves
credit for making blight reduction a priority in his
administration. Residents who have continued rebuilding their homes
and new residents who have moved into the area in recent years also
deserve credit for the city’s progress.

Shortly after taking office in 2010, Mayor Landrieu set a goal of
eliminating 10,000 of the city’s then-43,755 blighted properties by
the end of 2013. The city then proceeded to demolish almost 1,600
properties last year. That was almost three times the number of
buildings demolished in 2010. Many of the demolished properties
included homes that were flooded after Hurricane Katrina and
properties sold to the Road Home program.

At the same time, the city cleared 1,750 lots in 2011, or almost
twice the number it cleared the year before. The Landrieu
administration has also been aggressive in filing writs to seize
properties whose owners have neglected them. As a result of city
efforts, owners brought more than 1,000 properties into voluntary
compliance last year. The city also put some of its surplus
property up for sale, and other public agencies, such as the
Housing Authority of New Orleans, focused on getting rid of their
own blighted property as well.

These are impressive and encouraging results. Decades of neglect
and poverty, aggravated by destruction post-Katrina, left our city
with the country’s highest proportion of dilapidated buildings,
reaching 34 percent in 2008. Progress since then has dropped that
figure to 21 percent, according to the data center’s estimates.

That’s still a very large number. Even excluding vacant units that
are likely habitable, the center estimated that the city still has
close to 36,000 blighted properties. Allyson Plyer, the data
center’s chief demographer, said surveys show residents who have
rebuilt are growing inpatient with blight in their neighborhoods.

That gives Mayor Landrieu support to continue targeting blight
aggressively and help the city improve further in this undesirable
ranking.

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