Low-income American Can Company tenants can stay – for now

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - More than 50 low-income tenants at the American Can Company in Mid-City will not face immediate eviction, thanks to a settlement reached between the city, housing advocates and the complex's owner.

The American Can Company was redeveloped using nearly $40 million in public funds, credits, grants and loans. When the 268-unit complex opened in September 2001, the complex agreed to reserve 20 percent of the units for low- and moderate-income residents.

Audubon Communities, the real estate firm that bought American Can Company in 2013, sent eviction notices to the 53 low-income tenants late in 2016, informing them that they would have to be out of the apartments by January 2017,  the date when the agreement for low-income units expires.

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services took legal action to halt the evictions.

American Can Company apartments

American Can Company apartments

They prevailed, and now the low-income tenants can stay until the end of October.

Housing advocates say the victory is a short-term solution for a larger problem - several more housing developments have low-income agreements, and many of those are set to expire in coming years. That means thousands of low-income tenants could be forced out of their homes.

"I'm happy that we were able to get more time to try and find an affordable place to live, but this one agreement isn't a permanent solution to the housing crisis," said American Can resident Ann Tucker. "I certainly hope that other people facing similar issues take heed that we got results by coming forward, standing together and asking that the city intervene."