Rebuild, Recover, Renew, Renege
What it comes down to is this:
Those few seeking to profit from whole home short-term rentals are delivering a knockout punch to the backbone of the city’s tourism industry: service industry workers. What good is it to have tourists overrunning the neighborhoods that make this city remarkable and distinct while those who live here and who serve the tourists are rapidly losing affordable housing options with reasonable commutes?
And is this the way we treat our neighbors who dug in, did the hard work of rebuilding, and are now beginning to fear being taxed out of their own homes? This isn’t why so many struggled to make it home again.
As a friend wrote to the City Planning Commission earlier this week:
“I am a resident of New Orleans District C, a homeowner, and a long time service worker in the French Quarter.
It cannot be overemphasized the amount of damage two short years of whole home short term rental have done in the neighborhood I have called home for nearly twenty years. Our neighborhood, once vibrant with children growing up, seniors aging in place, and first time home buyers yearning to preserve historic homes, is now filled (of the 18 houses on our block, eight are now purely short term rentals) with houses only occupied on weekends or during festive events. Garbage proliferates, parking is a nightmare, and the unpeopled block in the middle of the week is eerie. Our taxes have soared, our infrastructure strained, and our sense of familiarity with our neighbors has become a worried fear over who will be priced out next by speculation. Please do not accept the Mayor’s assurances of accountability at face value. Allowing permanent short term rentals of whole houses abrogates the very compact of civic engagement.
It’s a simple truth: Any housing unit being used exclusively as a short-term rental is no longer available as a home for an actual New Orleanian.
The post-Katrina era is over; now it’s simply the time when greed wins… and we used to be better than that.
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