WASHINGTON - August 22 - On Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2006, ACORN and ACORN Housing released a detailed set of recommendations for policy makers and planners on how to rebuild “a New Orleans with a place for everyone.” The 28-page planning principles document was a result of an extensive, community based research project conducted in partnership with faculty and student interns from Cornell University, Pratt Institute, Louisiana State University, Columbia University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
"For people to make meaningful choices about how to rebuild, they need to know that they will have the resources and opportunity to build the city that is in their hearts,” said Vanessa Guarringer, an ACORN member and participant in the planning process. “We don’t want Disneyland or a wasteland. We want to rebuild a city of neighborhoods where all our children can grow and succeed.”
The “ACORN Planning Principles” document presents a vision for rebuilding New Orleans and outlines the current situation and specific policy proposals in a number of critical planning categories: housing, jobs, education, transportation, safety and security, healthcare, and parks. The document also describes how ACORN is helping to address these issues and create a better New Orleans.
“We worked to develop an authentic, resident-driven set of principles,” said Steve Bradberry, the New Orleans ACORN head organizer. “The team employed two basic approaches to gather information from the residents — holding community meetings and surveying the neighborhoods.” ACORN also gathered input from residents who remain displaced around the country and who have organized with ACORN in 10 cities nationwide.
“It’s extremely important for residents to have an active voice in the rebuilding of New Orleans,” said Guarringer. “Residents’ ideas communicated through these plans form a starting point to choices that will make a lasting impression on the city’s character and appearance.’’
Congressional and senate leaders have praised the ACORN planning document.
“I applaud ACORN for its sustained efforts in New Orleans and for involving
local residents in every step of the way,’’ said Congress member Nancy Pelosi of California. “ACORN has been at the forefront of the rebuilding process and I thank ACORN for its valuable role in keeping House Democrats both informed and involved.’’
Senate leader Harry Reid said, “I want to thank the people of ACORN for all they are doing to represent hurricane survivors and to help them rebuild their lives and their communities. The recovery and reconstruction of New Orleans should be a national priority. But while Washington must do its part, it's critical that the people of New Orleans have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the many decisions that must be made. After all, what's at stake is their community and their future.’’
For an electronic copy of the planning principles, view www.acorn.org/katrina. Hard copies can be mailed. Send an email that includes your name, address, and affiliation to email@example.com.