City of New Orleans, Louisiana: Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA)
The Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA) was founded in 2007 to connect housing developers and organizations and community development corporations to rebuild and increase affordable housing stock within the city. GNOHA members meet monthly to exchange information and data, discuss opportunities and problem solve, and work together to connect applicable organizations, stakeholders, and policymakers to better achieve the vision of growing the affordable housing stock available to New Orleanians. GNOHA’s advocacy agenda is broken down into six distinct initiatives: (1) to support HousingNOLA’s 2020 Action Plan; (2) to help bring people home and preserve neighborhoods; (3) to promote fair housing opportunities; (4) to better leverage funding opportunities; (5) to advocate for improvements to high insurance premiums; and (6) to support healthier, smarter, and more sustainable building standards.
GNOHA was created after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans’s communities and infrastructure, including the city’s affordable housing stock. Even before the storm, over two-thirds of low-income families bore extremely high housing cost burdens — and both homeowners and renters were equally disadvantaged. Across New Orleans, almost 228,000 homes and apartments were flooded — nearly 40 percent of owner-occupied units and 56 percent of rental units. GNOHA brings together nonprofit builders and community developers monthly to share housing ideas and information. In a specific example of this practice, the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance incubated and facilitated conversations that led to HousingNOLA, the first-ever 10-year plan to ensure affordable housing for all New Orleanians. With the plan in place, HousingNOLA evolved into an independent organization that continues to coordinate community conversations. As such, GNOHA now plays a watchdog role, ensuring that the community-crafted housing plan is taken seriously and put into action by local policymakers. Each year, HousingNOLA, with GHNOHA’s support, releases a report card documenting the work that HousingNOLA has accomplished relating to increasing affordable housing stock, “provides an honest assessment of citywide efforts to address housing issues, and charts the path to a more equitable city.” GNOHA also supports several initiatives to better facilitate the overall goal of increasing affordable housing stock throughout New Orleans.
Overall, GHOHA’s priorities include:
- Supporting HousingNOLA’s 2020 Action Plan: This involves working with the city and affordable housing organizations to implement immediate and mid-term strategies and recommendations outlined in the Housing NOLA 10-Year Strategy and Implementation Plan.
- Helping to bring people home and preserve historic, New Orleans neighborhoods: This work involves continued work with the city and community stakeholders in frontline neighborhoods that have been hit hard by environmental disasters. Bringing people home will also require preserving affordability — both for homeowners and renters — which can involve developing legislation establishing new criteria for reassessing property taxes.
- Promoting Fair Housing Opportunities: This involves working with federal, state, and local agencies (e.g., HUD, the Housing Authority of New Orleans, City agencies, etc.) to implement new fair housing rules and passing legislation that requires and enforces habitability standards for apartment buildings.
- Leveraging new and existing funding opportunities: This relates to federal and state housing and community development programs. GNOHA is also pushing that the New Orleans and Louisiana establish an annual schedule for all affordable housing funding and financing opportunities — as well as a new Louisiana Housing Trust Fund.
- Advocating for improvements to higher insurance premiums: This strategy continues GNOHA’s practice of hosting Insurance Roundtables with the state’s Insurance Commissioner and other partners to encourage lower homeowner and flood insurance rates.
- Supporting healthier, smarter, and more sustainable building standards: This involves promoting better building standards that are more energy-efficient, advocating for a more equitable utility voucher calculation, better encouraging development around transit, and promoting benchmarking efforts and incentive programs.
GNOHA collects membership dues to help to finance the organization’s operation. Membership fees are tiered, and membership costs depend on the type of organization or individual joining. GNOHA also works to leverage public-private partnerships to help finance housing initiatives the organization supports and implements. For example, in 2019, JPMorgan Chase committed $1.1 million to HousingNOLA strategies to revitalize a particular area of New Orleans by providing more affordable housing and promoting economic opportunities.
Publication Date: January 2007
- Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance