The challenge of rebuilding New Orleans and providing housing for its residents is immense, with tens of thousands of families displaced, their former homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The situation is especially difficult for families who lived in the poor, mostly African American neighborhoods that bore the brunt of the flood damage. The challenge going forward is even greater if New Orleans is to avoid old patterns of concentrating assisted housing and poor families in a few isolated communities. In this essay, we draw on evidence from innovative housing programs and development initiatives to outline a strategy that would allow New Orleans to recreate itself as an economically diverse, inclusive city that offers its low-income residents authentic opportunities. With careful planning by and for all, New Orleans can bring back its families and offer them homes in vibrant mixed-income communities.
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