THE ADVOCATE | BY JEFF ADELSON
DEC 30, 2016
John Keller addresses media in protest against the upcoming evictions of low-income residents housed in the American Can apartments outside of City Hall in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016. The evictions are planned for December 31, 2016.
Low-income residents who were told recently they will have to move out of their American Can Co. apartments apparently will not be booted from the building just yet, according to an attorney representing some of the tenants.
Despite letters telling the first several residents they would have to leave by Saturday night, tenants have been told informally that no actions will be taken before the end of January, attorney Hannah Adams said Friday.
Several of the tenants facing being kicked out of the Mid-City apartment complex have said they plan to sit tight and stay in their apartments as long as possible.
Meanwhile, their attorneys have sent Audubon Communities, the Georgia-based company that owns the complex, a cease-and-desist letter calling for a delay in any evictions.
The owners have come under fire from tenants and housing rights activists after several low-income residents were told their month-to-month leases would not be renewed at the end of December.
That’s been seen as a prelude to plans to remove tenants from all 53 units in the 268-apartment complex that were set aside as affordable housing as part of a financing agreement with the city's Industrial Development Board when the former industrial building was redeveloped as housing.
That 15-year agreement expires Jan. 31, and low-income tenants have been told their apartments will be converted to market-rate apartments at twice their current rents.
It’s unclear what impact a delay in the first scheduled evictions will have. Even if the residents were ordered to leave immediately, it could take some time for that process to move through the courts.
City officials including Mayor Mitch Landrieu have called on Audubon Communities to provide more time for residents to find alternative housing.