Housing advocates have been holding an all-night vigil in front of offices of the Housing Authority of New Orleans. It’s designed to press the authority for more reforms than are planned for review later today.
About a dozen people settled into a small square patch of grass where they would spend the night outside the Touro Street HANO building.
They say families are being split up under policies that bar some people with a criminal record from public housing, and the policies for dealing with drug and alcohol use are unclear.
The demolition of housing projects after Hurricane Katrina has created mixed-use developments not totally under HANO control.
Colette Tippy is with Stand With Dignity.
“What is now Columbia Parc but used to be St. Bernard, what is now Marrero Commons but used to be B.W. Cooper – those are all privately managed housing developments at this point," Tippy said. "And so those determinations are going to be determined by the private managers instead of by HANO, and that’s ultimately a problem.”
Marlene Kennedy says she served five years in prison for drug charges. She says she no longer uses drugs, but still can’t get help re-entering the community.
“I want a chance just to call – somewhere to call home. Whether it’s a room or whatever, I want somewhere to call home – to feel safe," Kennedy said.
The housing authority is set to vote on policy changes Tuesday afternoon.