New Orleans Residents Want to Return to the City but not to Public Housing

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew Orleans–A significant majority of public housing residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina do not want to return to public housing in New Orleans, says an independent survey commissioned by the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO). Conducted by the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), the survey involved more than 2,100 current and former public housing residents. Of these, 71.6 percent want to return to New Orleans, but only 35 percent preferred to return to public housing in New Orleans.When asked what form of housing they prefer, only 20.3 percent of respondents wanted to return to their former public housing units. Among families who resided in the C.J. Peete, B.W. Cooper, St. Bernard and Lafitte developments (“the Big Four”), a mere 13.7 percent chose to return to their former homes.“The vast majority of HANO’s families want better housing in safer communities. We are creating a vibrant, safe environment where children and families can thrive. These residents deserve something better than what they had and our plan is to give it to them,” says C. Donald Babers, the HUD-appointed HANO board chairman.Last July, HANO contracted with the UTA to conduct a survey of the approximately 5,100 families who resided in New Orleans public housing prior to Hurricane Katrina.Half of the respondents have already moved back to New Orleans. Currently, there are 1,824 families living in a combination of rehabilitated and newly constructed public housing units in New Orleans.