Over the last decade, the City of New Orleans has conducted numerous planning processes, resulting in a strong set of policy goals to improve equitable outcomes, quality of life, and access to quality housing and economic opportunity for all residents. To continue to work towards these key policy goals, the City of New Orleans engaged HR&A Advisors along with Asakura Robinson to undertake a comprehensive analysis of its “public incentives” — the various funds that the City awards to businesses and real estate developers to help encourage economic development and affordable housing.
The Alignment of Public Incentives for Strategic Outcomes project developed a roadmap and detailed plan to ensure that City incentive programs are aligned with the City’s stated goals. As part of the HR&A-led consultant team, the Asakura Robinson team conducted housing analysis and engaged key stakeholders across the City in the project.
Our housing analysis work involved collecting relevant data around the performance of the City’s housing programs over the ten years between 2007 and 2016, and creating cost-benefit analyses related to the City’s housing programs that reveal the different amounts of leverage available for various affordable housing programs, including federal HOME and CDBG dollars and local housing trust fund dollars. We also conducted a deep-dive analysis of the city’s rental housing subsidy program to create benchmarks for subsidizing rental housing units at various income levels and with various “affordability periods,” or timelines on which the units would remain affordable before becoming market-rate.
Our work also included engaging local stakeholders and residents in examining the City’s policy goals and incentive programs. Stakeholders helped prioritize the many policy goals in the City’s planning documents, and suggested priorities and investment opportunities within their neighborhoods and their fields of professional work. The engagement process covered all five New Orleans council districts and a special Downtown meeting that reviewed the special needs of this employment center.
The recommendations of the report will be reviewed, adopted, and implemented by the City over the coming years, and the best-practice analysis has also been hailed in local media.
Read the final report here.