Monday, December 10, 2007


December 11 Public Meeting to Detail "Renaissance Village Housing Transition Plan"to Avert Homelessness as FEMA "Move Out" Deadline Nears;Federal Agency Representatives to Attend and Respond

Faced with the threat of losing their homes, displaced New Orleans residents in the Baker area have joined with community leaders and representatives from federal agencies to produce an action plan to relocate to permanent housing.

The Renaissance Village Housing Transition Plan will be released at a public meeting on December 11 at the Baker BREC Center on 1420 Alabama Street.

Residents of the Renaissance Village FEMA trailer park are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, other state and federal agencies, elected officials, American Red Cross and other social service agencies to create and implement a process to more effectively transition more than 450 families living in the trailer park to safe, affordable and permanent housing.

"We feel that this is not a New Orleans thing or a Baton Rouge or Baker thing. This is a people thing," Rev. John L. Thomas, pastor of the Christ Fellowship Church of Leland, said at a recent press conference announcing the new plan. "Our elected officials at all levels need to understand this and commit to helping these people."

The Renaissance Village Housing Transition Plan consists of a series of strategies for securing affordable, permanent housing that includes increasing case management capacity, developing landlord agreements in the region, and instituting job training and streamlined housing placement services. Residents and community leaders are working to obtain commitments from partners to support implementation.

Approximately 460 families currently live in the Renaissance Village trailer park. Almost 3,000 families across Louisiana will have to leave their government-supplied trailers over the next few months under a new schedule by FEMA to close all trailer parks by June 1, 2008. Renaissance Village is the largest of the approximately 70 trailer parks that still house displaced New Orleans residents across Louisiana.

Presentations at the December 11 public meeting will include residents of Renaissance Village, Baker Mayor Harold Rideau and area clergy including Louisiana Episcopal Bishop, Right Reverend Charles Jenkins. Respondents to the plan will include service partners such as the Senior Advisor for Disaster Operations for HUD, Carl Jurison, and representatives from FEMA, American Red Cross and other government agencies.

The Renaissance Village Housing Transition Plan, if implemented, could be replicated for transitioning the residents of remaining FEMA trailer parks in the region who face similar living conditions and risk of homelessness after their temporary housing locations close, according to Linda Jeffers, Louisiana Coordinator for American Speaks.

A free public dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., followed by the public meeting from 7-9 p.m.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSRENAISSANCE VILLAGE FEMA PARK CAMPAIGN TO MOVE TO PERMANENT AFFORDABLE HOUSINGWhat is Renaissance Village and who lives there?Renaissance Village is the largest of the more than 60 remaining trailer parks in Louisiana created by the Federal Emergency to house displaced residents from Hurricane Katrina. Presently, over 450 families live in Renaissance Village, many of whom have lived there for the past two years. Other Renaissance Village residents were transferred from other trailer parks that have been closed by FEMA. The Renaissance Village trailer park is located in Baker, LA, outside of Baton Rouge. What is the Campaign to Move to Permanent Affordable Housing? Almost 3,000 families across Louisiana will have to leave their government-supplied trailers over the next few months under a new schedule to close all trailer parks by June 1, 2008 prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Unless action is taken, the residents of Renaissance Village will face the threat of homelessness.

The residents of Renaissance Village are joining together with local leaders to assert the right of the residents of Renaissance Village to have access to permanent affordable housing. The coalition will work with local, state and federal agencies to produce a concrete plan of action. What are the challenges facing the residents of Renaissance Village?Those citizens who continue to live in FEMA trailer parks across the state of Louisiana and Mississippi are in a uniquely challenging situation. For over two years, they have been unable to re-establish their lives as they live in spaces too small to accumulate household items, often isolated from jobs and public transportation. They have not yet re-established credit with utility companies. They are not eligible for certain resources because they are living on government property meant to be temporary emergency housing.Who is involved with the Campaign to Move to Permanent Affordable Housing?The campaign is being led by the residents of Renaissance Village in partnership with local community leaders, including the Mayor and City Council of Baker, LA, and local clergy from across the greater Baton Rouge area. The coalition has been facilitated by the non-profit organization, AmericaSpeaks. Who is AmericaSpeaks and why is the organization involved? AmericaSpeaks, a non-profit organization based in Washington DC, engages citizens in the public decisions that impact their lives.

Last year, AmericaSpeaks worked closely with the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) to coordinate Community Congress II and III which engaged thousands of displaced New Orleans citizens along with their neighbors who have returned to the city in setting priorities for the city's recovery plan to rebuild New Orleans. Following the UNOP process, AmericaSpeaks has continued to support the efforts of displaced citizens to address the priorities they have identified. In particular, diaspora leaders from Houston and Baker/Baton Rouge are collaborating to secure dignified permanent affordable housing for those still living in Renaissance Village.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My name is Mike Mayes. I wanted to know if there are still any families still in FEMA trailers as of today, December 14 2009. Have they moved all families out? Please email me if yoiu know.