Thousands in New Orleans Living in Abandoned Buildings

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
New Orleans Squatter Home (photo: Chris Granger, New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Homelessness has nearly doubled in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, even though only 80% of the city’s population has returned since the 2005 disaster. An investigation by the non-profit Unity of Greater New Orleans organization also discovered thousands of individuals living in abandoned homes and commercial buildings—which total 55,000 to date, making New Orleans “the most blighted city in America.”

After going door-to-door visiting damaged structures over a two-year period, Unity concluded that there are 3,000-6,000 persons currently living in New Orleans’ abandoned buildings. Of this group, 87% are disabled, with 76% suffering mental illness and 58% a physical disability.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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