American Can residents take eviction concerns to City Hall

American Can residents take eviction concerns to City Hall

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Low-income residents of one of Mid City's prime apartment complexes went to City Hall Thursday in their effort to fight eviction. But the same arrangement that is forcing dozens out will eventually play out in newly renovated housing complexes across New Orleans.

One resident is a disabled veteran who fought for his country in Vietnam and  now fights to stay in the American Can apartments.

"They're putting everybody out. That's a travesty," said Micheal Esnault.

The residents were allowed lower rents under special HUD financing that is now expiring.

"We have to wake up and see what's really going on," said resident Athelgra Landry.

Five residents met with the mayor's staff to try and find a solution, but their attorney was not allowed in.

"I, as their attorney, want to be present so their rights are protected," said Hannah Adams.

While the immediate concern is the residents of American Can, an advocate says they are by no means alone. There are hundreds who may soon be in a similar circumstance.

"American Can is just the beginning of the mass evictions we will see," Adams said.

Most of the city's newly renovated housing projects, including the Lafitte and Iberville, were approved under similar federal financing.

"Over 6,000 units got this type of subsidy since 2000, and they will all have sunset dates of 15 to 30 years," Adams said.

All sides met for about 40 minutes today, with the city promising to take action.

"We are in the process of reaching out to American Can for the mayor to request the evictions are halted, and we give those residents time to work through the situation if their evictions can't be stopped completely," said city spokesman Tyronne Walker.

Residents hope for the best.

"They are doing their best. I just hope they assist us in some way," said tenant Athelgra Landry.

"Everybody's got a good idea, but talk is talk. Walking the walk, that's a different thing," said Esnault.

The residents have one month to find out, if they will be allowed to stay. Low income American Can residents say if they opt to leave by the end of this month, they will be given $1,000 for moving expenses.

We reached out to American Can's current owner, Audubon Communities, but haven't heard back. As for hundreds of residents living in other developments that will lose their low-income rents in coming years, the mayor's office says it has an affordable housing plan to address the issue.

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