Survivors Village and May Day NOLA cleaned out a Road Home property in the St. Bernard community today, announcing our intention to prepare the home as a step toward addressing high rates of homelessness and displacement. Among the supporters who joined us were members of Stand for Dignity.
See video of the action here.
Those participating in today’s action assert that all displaced and dispossessed residents –esp those forcibly relocated by the Federal Government after Hurricane Katrina–have the UNCONDITIONAL right of return to their homes and communities. Our objective is to make these rights real by sheltering residents in need in the many vacant properties being warehoused by the Road Home Program.
Among its many problems, the Road Home program completely ignored the majority of New Orleanians who were renters and now owns many vacant properties in a city with an affordable housing crisis. Survivors Village intends to do what the local, state and federal governments are not doing and that is making a real road home for the many New Orleanians who are still displaced, as well as the city’s growing homeless population.
The action today was the third and final day of our Right to Return Weekend which was organized to call attention to the human right to housing and to highlight the failure of local and national officials to address the fact that more than 1 out 4 New Orleanians are still displaced, that all but one public housing development have been demolished, and the city’s homeless population has ballooned to well over 20,000 people. The Right of Return Weekend was organized in conjunction with the May month of actions called by Take Back the Land Movement (TBLM). TBLM is a network of autonomous organizations affiliated with the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) dedicated to realizing the human right to adequate housing and community control over land.
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St. Bernard residents and supporters have erected a tent city on public land outside of where the St. Bernard Housing Development used to be. The Freedom Encampment reaffirms the right of community control over their the land and asserts people’s fundamental human rights to unconditional right of return. See video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RjHnH41VGA&feature=player_embedded
With over 1 out 4 New Orleanians still displaced from hurricane Katrina, all but one public housing development demolished, and over 20,000 people homeless, local housing advocacy groups are hosting a Right of Return Weekend, to raise awareness that Housing IS a Human Right.
The Right to Return Weekend challenges the forced removal of all public housing residents following Hurricane Katrina and the discriminatory policies of the government to permanently displace low-income Black communities from the “new” New Orleans. Columbia Parc and HANO claim that 130 of the new units will be affordable housing units. However, HANO officials are now on record stating that anyone who claimed that former housing residents would be able to return “was lying.”
The former renters of St Bernard are not alone. Housing recovery is moving much slower for renters than homeowners across the New Orleans metro region. Though they made up 70% of the pre-Katrina population few programs have been put in place to ensure renters return. Most government funds have
gone to renovation programs run by private companies.
“It is inexcusable to have this much vacant land and property in the hands of banks and the city government during this ongoing housing crisis. People have the right to live in and develop land and buildings that they can live in ” says Stephanie Mingo of Survivors Village.
Today’s action was the second day of actions planned as part of The Right to Return Weekend which will continue Sunday, May 30th with an action to end the escalating homeless crisis in New Orleans.
Survivors Village is affiliated with the Take Back the Land Movement, and the Right of Return Weekend is part of the May month of actions called by Take Back the Land Movement (TBLM). TBLM is a network of autonomous organizations affiliated with the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) dedicated to realizing the human right to adequate housing and community control over land.
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RIGHT TO RETURN
Right to Return
Friday May 28– 12 noon
LET THE PEOPLE IN!
Day 2: Action against land
grabs by developers
Saturday May 29 – 9am
Our Communities Our Responsibility!!
All Vacant land should be developed by the community for the community !!
Day 3: Action to fight homelessness.
Sunday May 30 – 9 am
60,000 vacant buildings, 20,000 people homeless!!
END HOMELESSNESS NOW!
All actions located at the
3800 block St. Bernard Ave.
All former residents of public housing have an unconditional right to come home !!!
HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!!
Survivors Village is affiliated with the national TAKE BACK THE LAND MOVEMENT!! Right to Return Weekend co-sponsored by MAYDAY NO
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The post Katrina housing situation is so dire that a 59 year old New Orleans citizen recently decided that death was better than living on the streets.
After receiving an eviction notice for not paying rent for one month, he attempted to commit suicide by cop, saying that he was too old and too fat to live on the street and therefore today is as good of a day as any to die. This epitomizes the post-Katrina housing problems for the poor, the black, and the elderly in the city of New Orleans and reinforces the principle of Survivors Village that safe, decent, and affordable housing should be a right and not a privilege. The struggle continues!!
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