NEW ORLEANS-On the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and as Tropical Storm Gustav is now churning toward the Gulf of Mexico, the City of New Orleans is stymied in efforts to provide housing for residents. Scarcity of rental units is still an issue despite much-touted grants and programs like the Gulf Opportunity Zone Low-Income Housing tax credit and Road Home.

Sheila Crowley, president and CEO of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition in Washington, DC, says the situation is so bad that people are unable to move out of FEMA trailers and into rental units. “People have had to be moved into hotels from trailers because the trailers aren’t fit for habitation,” she also points out.

Nor is the problem confined to lower income renters. According to Washington, DC-based Policy Link’s report, “A Long Way Home: The State of Housing Recovery in Louisiana,” the news is dismal for renters of all classes. Many units are off line, with much of the stock either damaged or wiped out. As of last January, only 11% of the 24,600 rental units slated to receive federal assistance were available for occupancy. Furthermore, the number is far less than the actual number of units that were damaged or destroyed by Katrina.

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