NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, the City of New Orleans announced it is partnering with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) for the second phase of a lot clearing program known as the Collaborative Nuisance Abatement Program (CNAP). CNAP uses Disaster-Community Development Block Grant (D-CDBG) funding to clean, cut, and clear blighted properties of overgrowth, debris, and other public safety hazards. The program will abate such nuisances on vacant lots and properties with structures. Approximately $1 million is available to administer this program.
“This program is another tool we’re using in our aggressive fight on blight across the city,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Partnering with NORA just makes sense. We are streamlining our efforts, and making the lot clearing program more efficient and cost-effective, all while creating jobs for our local small businesses.
“By addressing the problem of high grass on blighted properties and former Road Home properties together, we can begin to make a real impact on these nuisances in the community,” said Jeffrey Hebert, Executive Director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.
“Cutting the grass goes a long way toward improving home values and the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Pura Bascos, Director of Code Enforcement and Hearings Bureau. “CNAP will allow for continued success in our fight against blight.”
NORA currently has contracts in place with several nuisance abatement vendors. These vendors are local, small businesses that either qualify as disadvantaged businesses or are committed to hiring disadvantaged businesses as subcontractors. Vendors contracted with the City and NORA are also committed to hiring from hard-to-employ populations such as ex-offenders, recovering addicts, chronically unemployed, formerly homeless and low-income individuals.
In order to take action on a property, the City’s Code Enforcement and Hearings Bureau must first cite a property owner for code violations and find the owner guilty of these violations at an enforcement hearing. These judgments must then be recorded against the property. If violations still exist after the judgment is rendered, Code Enforcement then directs NORA to proceed with the abatement of the property. The City can then place a lien on the property for the amount of costs incurred in abating the nuisance. Under this federally funded program, the property can be cut as many times as possible until funding runs out.
CNAP replaces the Interim Nuisance Abatement Program (INAP). This was an interim assistance activity intended to alleviate an emergency condition of blight on vacant lots within the City of New Orleans that threatened the public health and safety in post-Katrina New Orleans.
A separate pilot lot maintenance program was launched in October 2011. The innovative program provided jobs to local citizens and ex-offenders to cut and clear overgrown lots in the Lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood with the highest percentage of vacant lots in New Orleans.