In April of 2018, St. Tammany Parish will submit its finalized Assessment of Fair
Housing, as mandated by the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing section of the Fair Housing
Act and by HUD. The New Orleans-based firm Asakura Robinson has been tasked with creating
the report. The firm has employed several research tactics to gain insight on the current status of
housing in the parish and what can be done to improve it. These included an online survey, town-
hall style meetings, tabling at a variety of community fairs, and holding a series of stakeholder
meetings. The public was heavily involved in providing input for the report. For example, at
community fairs, attendees were asked to write down a barrier to housing on a sticky-note and
place it on a map of the parish where this barrier existed. The input from the events were
compiled into a draft document and presented at a final stakeholder meeting in November.
Stakeholders that attending the meetings included representatives from St. Tammany Parish
Health and Human Services, the City of Slidell Planning and Zoning, Habitat for Humanity (East
St. Tammany and St. Tammany West), Northlake Homeless Coalition, Northshore Housing
Initiative, and Volunteers of America, among others. This paper examines some of the issues that
were discussed that the final stakeholder meeting as well as some of the proposed solutions and
whether the outcome of those solutions seem promising.
The Practice of NIMBYism:
While there were numerous other barriers to fair housing discussed for the Assessment of
Fair Housing, perhaps the biggest and most overarching barrier in St. Tammany Parish is the
concept of NIMBYism. The acronym NIMBY stands for “not in my back yard” and refers to
people and organizations not wanting low-income housing near their own homes and businesses.
The reasons are usually masked in things like drainage or traffic problems, which allow officials