In the history of New Orleans, there are those who make policy and those who are forced to live by policy. To help balance the scales, Voice of the Poor: Citizen Participation Informing Public Policy for Rebuilding New Orleans focuses on low-income residents, mostly African Americans, whose views are needed to help rebuild the shattered city in a way that will make it more sustainable, inclusive, and economically competitive than it was before Hurricane Katrina.
Through citizen participation, everyone's voice can be heard. As a result, New Orleans will become more equitable. Voice of the Poor offers a process for arriving at an acceptable solution for those who are interested in individual and community self-determination. Input of both current and displaced residents is vitally important in the rebuilding of the city. However, participation has generally been limited to those who have had the resources to return to New Orleans and continue their lives there. A variety of outlets for the participation of those who have returned have been available, and their contributions are integral in developing the plan to rebuild New Orleans.
Ironically, low-income citizens-those most impacted by the storm-have largely been excluded from this discussion. Voice of the Poor seeks to bridge this gap.