Housing advocates: New Orleans agencies failing in push for affordable homes | Coronavirus

Amid a pandemic that has deepened economic hardships for thousands of New Orleanians, city leaders have come up short in their goals to build affordable housing, according to a new report from affordable-housing advocates.

Advocacy group HousingNOLA gave the city’s progress toward creating 7,500 affordable housing opportunities in 2020 a failing grade in a report out this week, saying the various agencies working on that problem have so far created only about 1,500 affordable homes. 

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It’s the worst grade the group has assigned to public agencies charged with creating affordable housing since it began tracking government progress to relieve housing insecurity in New Orleans five years ago. Last year, the group awarded the agencies a D grade. 

“This is not simply a COVID grade,” HousingNOLA Executive Director Andreanecia Morris said. Instead, the COVID-19 crisis and related economic restrictions have exacerbated the housing problems the city has long had, she said.

To improve that outlook, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration should move forward by January with incentive programs that encourage developers to build low-cost housing in high-income neighborhoods, the group said.

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The city should also earmark more funds for vulnerable populations in need of housing, such as essential workers earning minimum wage. And state lawmakers should authorize rental assistance payments for landlords, so tenants continue to be housed even if they have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and cannot afford to pay rent, the group said.

City officials did not respond to a request for comment on the report. But

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New Orleans Saints see improvements, but not enough to post victory over Green Bay

The New Orleans Saints did some good things on offense and defense against Green Bay. They just didn’t do enough of them.

There were enough loose ends for the Saints that they couldn’t produce a victory Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where the Packers posted a 37-30 victory that was the second consecutive loss for New Orleans (1-2).

Penalties continue to be a significant hindrance (eight for 83 yards against the Packers), especially defensively, and two starters on offense (left guard Andrus Peat and tight end Jared Cook) couldn’t finish the game due to injuries. New Orleans has some cleaning up to do before it can put itself in position to win, and the next opportunity for that will come Sunday on the road against Detroit.

OFFENSE: Overall, it probably was the Saints’ best offensive showing this season. They had 397 yards, quarterback Drew Brees was sharp (29 of 36 for 288 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions) and running back Alvin Kamara was phenomenal (13 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns, plus six rushes for 58 yards). But New Orleans left some points on the field, a no-no against a team the caliber of Green Bay, and Taysom Hill’s lost fumble – only a few plays after New Orleans made a midfield stand on fourth down – was a deflating blow. Brees and Emmanuel Sanders (four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown) showed some sync, and the Saints need it to continue to improve. Kamara is major target for opposing defenses, and he’s going to need the help until Michael Thomas returns.

DEFENSE: The penalties are too much. Successful teams aren’t penalized the way the Saints are committing penalties, because it’s tough to beat an opponent and yourself. Defensively, New Orleans was penalized for a

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