Lacy Crawford,

Hannah Adams, Staff Attorney, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, (504) 529-1000 x.258,

Jefferson Parish Public Housing Tenants Win a Victory Against HUD, Stopping the Planned Conversion of the Acre Road Public Housing Development 

LOUISIANA––The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, have successfully won summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of current and former residents of the Acre Road public housing development (“Acre Road”) in Marrero, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.  The decision will allow the affected current and former tenants an opportunity to fight for their interests by requiring HUD to provide them due consideration in any future Acre Road conversion and redevelopment plans.

On April 19, 2024, the court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, vacating the approval of the Acre Road Streamlined Voluntary Conversion (SVC). The court found that HUD failed to address data showing that the conversion would have disparate impact on Black residents by forcing them to move to more highly segregated areas, in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The court also found that HUD violated the U.S. Housing Act by failing to give adequate consideration to whether the cost of conversion would exceed the cost of continuing to operate the public housing, whether the conversion would principally benefit the tenants, and whether the conversion would adversely affect the availability of affordable housing in the community.

Darin Collins, President of the Marrero Tenants Organization, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said "The MTO appreciates the federal courts' decision to halt HAJP's application for HUD's SVC program. This decision allows Jefferson Parish, the Housing Authority, and HUD to collaborate with the Marrero Tenants Organization on redeveloping the historic Acre Road community. This partnership aims to ensure that the redevelopment benefits the tenants and provides them with equity in Jefferson Parish."

Acre Road contains 200 units of public housing built in the 1960s to serve predominantly Black families in Jefferson Parish. It is the last remaining public housing operated by the Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish (“HAJP”). In late 2020, after years of neglected maintenance, the Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish applied to HUD for approval to move Acre Road families from public housing to the Housing Choice Voucher program, and to permanently close out its public housing program.

The Marrero Tenants Organization (“MTO”) and its members raised concerns that tenants would likely be displaced from Jefferson Parish, or forced to move to more highly segregated areas, due to patterns of racial segregation and widespread discrimination against voucher-holders. Residents were faced with the impossible choice of either moving to a more racially segregated area or remaining at Acre Road in deteriorating units. HUD ignored their concerns and instead found “no civil rights concerns” after a cursory review of the application. The SVC application was approved in March 2023, and the approval was ratified in October 2023.

“Displacement is one of the most important racial justice issues of the present day,” said Thomas Silverstein, acting director for the Fair Housing and Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “As factors ranging from inadequate building maintenance to climate risk to skyrocketing rents threaten to push tenants of color out of their communities, it is imperative that HUD and the nation’s housing authorities take this decision as a call to arms to reduce those threats and protect tenants, rather than to exacerbate them.”

Jehan Patterson, Counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, said, “The court affirmed that HUD cannot disregard the law and must administer public housing programs—including decisions to close them—in a manner that takes into account the needs of residents who deserve safe, healthy, and adequate housing. Acre Road residents deserve to have a say in the future redevelopment of their community, and this decision recognizes that.”

Hannah Adams, staff attorney at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services said, “As desperately needed public housing is eliminated all over the country, this decision stands for the proposition that HUD can no longer rubber stamp conversion and demolition applications without giving serious thought to where tenants will be able to move with vouchers.”

On May 4, 2023, current and former Acre Road residents and their tenant organization filed suit, challenging both a 2019 HUD Notice (“2019 Notice”), which provided the process for SVCs, as well as HUD’s subsequent approval of the Acre Road SVC.


For Immediate Release
Date: April 11, 2024
Contact: Laura Tuggle,, 504-529-1000 x 270

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Seeks Support in Washington for southeast Louisiana’s Civil Legal Needs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leaders from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) met with congressional staff in Washington, D.C. on April 8 to discuss the importance of constituent access to the legal system on issues like fair housing, veterans’ benefits, domestic violence and burdensome medical debt in southeast Louisiana.

SLLS Executive Director Laura Tuggle joined attorneys from every corner of the nation to mark the 50th anniversary of Legal Services Corporation supporting civil legal aid across the United States. “Civil legal aid is an often overlooked but essential solution to helping strengthen communities, improve public safety, stabilize families in crisis, and protect vulnerable populations,” said Tuggle.

Tuggle, along with Roxanne Newman, Deputy Director, and Douglas Carey, Director of Pro Bono Programs, held a meeting with representatives from the offices of Representatives Carter, Letlow, and Scalise, as well as staff from Senators Cassidy and Kennedy, and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson’s office.

The largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans, LSC was established by Congress in 1974. To mark its historic 50th anniversary, LSC has embarked on an outreach campaign — “Protecting the Promise” of equal justice. LSC held its quarterly board meeting in conjunction with a forum on Access to Justice and a gala Monday and Tuesday (April 8-9).

LSC’s 2022 Justice Gap report found that low-income Americans received no or insufficient legal help for 92% of their civil legal problems.


About Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) fights for fairness in the justice system. We provide free civil legal aid to low-income people across 22 parishes in southeast Louisiana. We have six offices: Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Harvey, Houma, and New Orleans. Our mission is to achieve justice for low-income people in Louisiana by enforcing and defending their legal rights through free legal representation, advocacy, and community education. For more information about SLLS, visit and follow us on Facebook (@SLLShelps).

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974. For 50 years, LSC has provided financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 131 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

Notice! Restore Louisiana will not give Interim Housing Assistance to all who expect it.

Restore Louisiana recently made changes to its rental assistance policies. These changes mean fewer people will receive rental assistance while their homes are being repaired. 

This change even affects people who were told orally by Restore Louisiana that they would get rental assistance while their homes are being repaired. We are unsure if it affects people who received written approval for rental assistance but have not started receiving it.

Under the new policy, only homeowners under Solution 1 with reconstruction projects will receive financial assistance. Homeowners with Solution 1 repair projects will no longer receive any assistance. 

A Restore Inspector has or will come to your home to do a Damage Assessment. The Damage Assessment tells you if Restore will repair or reconstruct your home. 

Restore Louisiana changed these policies in March 2024. Before March 2024, Restore Louisiana offered rental assistance to Solution 1 homeowners with certain repair projects when needed to complete construction.  

If your home is being repaired under Solution 1 and you need to leave for the repairs to be completed, you can ask Restore Louisiana for an exception based on your circumstances. There is no guarantee that you will receive an exception. 

You can review the entire updated policy manual here: The policy at issue is at 125-132.