I first encountered this public housing issue over a decade ago while living in Rhode Island, and finally began legal research while in New York City last summer. It is national in scope, and much of the relevant law is federal. However, I felt it would be easier to comprehend if focused on a particular city. I moved to New Orleans in 2011 and do not pretend to fully understand the entire socio-political landscape. To the degree that this report is incomplete, such as detailed data on evictions, I apologize. What follows is meant to be a starting point on a complex issue, rather than an ending point. I expect others to capitalize on this consolidation of material and move forward in their own regions or specialties.
This report would not be possible without the families of convicted people standing up and resisting discrimination. In particular, members of Stand with Dignity have been instrumental in advocating for changes outlined in the report. I thank their organizers, Toya X and Collette Tippy, for connecting with me. Very little of my work in New Orleans would be relevant if not for my fellow members of Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE) and Norris Henderson.
As Dorsey Nunn, of the Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement, writes in the Forward:
This report represents more than just a legal analysis about the struggles in low-income communities. For many of us, this is about our homes. This is about where we try to cook our meals, relax, and raise our families. The stakes are high, inciting passion. Yet we do not let this passion blind us; instead, we use it to motivate ourselves. We encourage everyone, regardless of background or circumstance, to join us in taking action upon a most critical issue.
We are fortunate to have strong individuals and organizations working towards change in New Orleans. The city is “ground zero” for incarceration, and a true tragedy considering the rich history and difficult geographic location at the mouth of the Mississippi. What we have created is a national model, drawing from the expertise on the ground and in the legal community, to help our people step up and out of the carnage created by two generations of the “War on Drugs.”
The FICPM looks forward to building partnerships with people working on this and other issues across the nation.
Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement
- New Report on Public Housing: “Communities, Evictions, and Criminal Convictions” (ficpmovement.wordpress.com)
- Foundation for Prison Scholarships Announces New Board Members (transcendingthrougheducation.wordpress.com)