"Before the Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was the second-lowest-ranked district in the second-lowest-ranked state in the country. In 2005, 62 percent of students were failing, according to district records. Simmons' story represents that of many students who might not have succeeded to the same degree without the post-Katrina education system changes, experts point out. For Simmons, that meant attending a charter school, where she said her teachers pushed her even more once they found out about her compromising situation."
"On Tuesday, a study by the Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research found that recovery policies in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina largely ignored the needs of African American women who lived in four of the city's largest public housing complexes. These women were forced to move into more expensive housing, and some had to relocate to areas where they faced racial intimidation."
"A recent survey from Louisiana State University’s Public Policy Research Lab found that, of residents forced to live somewhere else after the storm, the ones who took the longest to return home were those who made less than $20,000 a year. Nearly 68 percent of those households took longer than a year to move back to New Orleans, compared with just 8.23 percent of those who made more than $100,000 a year. Part of the reason for that gap was the fact that poor families had few places to move back to."
"Call it what you will, but Purdue University is rethinking financial aid after the nation’s class of 2015 was named the most indebted in United States history. Purdue Research Foundation announced last week it would seek a partner firm to establish and manage income share agreements — an alternative to federal loans that rack up student debt."
"'The idea that that the Democratic party has essentially conceded half of the states in this country to conservative Republicans who do not represent the interests of their working people and their low income people is beyond my comprehension.'"
"And according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Tuesday, a higher percentage of children live in poverty now than did during the Great Recession. About 22 percent of U.S. children lived below the poverty line in 2013, compared with 18 percent in 2008, the foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service’s official poverty line was $23,624 for a family with two adults and two children."
"A new report from Tulane University researchers Stacy Seicshnaydre and Ryan C. Albright reveals that the bulk of low-income families in New Orleans continue to live in neighborhoods mired in poverty and racial segregation, despite the new housing stock that has emerged in the post-Katrina recovery."
"St. Bernard Parish is taking calls until 4:30 p.m. Monday (July 6) from low-income households interested in help paying for their power bills. The parish's Department of Housing and Redevelopment said residents must call Monday to set up appointments, and walk-ins are not welcome."
"Though the national economy has improved and the amount of available jobs have risen, wages in some areas have been stagnant at best, and have not risen in accordance with the basic needs of life like food, transportation and housing. In Louisiana, one of only five states with no official statewide minimum wage, the $7.25 minimum wage has been the same since 2009--the same as the federal minimum wage. A stagnant minimum wage makes it difficult for someone earning a minimum wage salary to rent an apartment, especially when rents across the country are continuing to rise. And a substantial amount of America's workforce earns near-minimum wage salaries, 30 percent nationally according to the Pew Research Center."
"Low-income children growing up in Metro New Orleans can expect household income on average to decline by 14.8 percent by the time they reach 26 years-old -- 99th out of 100 metro areas in income mobility evaluated by a pair of Harvard University researchers. That's $3,848 decline in household income from the $26,000 average, the researchers said. Their report, utilizing income data, assessed the differences in terms of income growth or decline."
"How many know that WIC served an average of 159,525 Hoosiers each month in 2013? Or that during that year, more than 46 percent of live births in Tippecanoe County were to mothers participating in the WIC program?"
"Thirty-nine percent of New Orleans children live in poverty, according to a new study. That's 17 points higher than the U.S. average and puts Orleans Parish in the top 10 with similar-sized cities. The Data Center, a local non-profit group, analyzed childhood poverty many ways, by single parents, low wage earners and those who use public transit, to name a few."
"On Independence Day, First Lady Michelle Obama issued the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in local communities by the end of 2015. The city of New Orleans did the first lady one better and completed the task by the end of 2014."
"The New Orleans Bar Association and the New Orleans Bar Foundation have developed a new fellowship program that will place a new attorney with the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. The SLLS is the largest nonprofit law firm in the state and handles approximately 10,000 cases a year."
"Last year, as part of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's pledge to be the first city in the country to end veteran homelessness by Dec. 31, 2014, outreach workers with Unity of Greater New Orleans conducted sweeps looking for former members of the military in need. They found Washington sleeping on a bus stop bench at the corner of Elysian Fields and St. Claude avenues. Less than a month later, on Sept. 19, they moved him into his own apartment."
"The popular Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy will finally get to expand, after an initial denial and months of tweaked efforts to recruit more African-American and at-risk students. The Jefferson Parish School Board approved the move Wednesday. The charter school may enroll 90 more children for the 2015-16 academic year, adding seats in all grades except third, fourth and eighth. Starting in 2016-17, it may add high school grades."
“But Gov. Pence, who is the former head of the conservative Republican Study Committee in the House, is accepting the money for the expansion. Instead of putting the money into the traditional Medicaid program, he asked for a waiver from the federal government to use it to fund private policies for low-income residents. That is an approach other states have pursued. Gov. Jindal has refused to even consider the Medicaid expansion, despite estimates that it would allow 242,000 uninsured low-income Louisianians to get health coverage.”
“St. Bernard Parish Government Department of Housing and Redevelopment has announced the availability of funds dedicated to assist St. Bernard Parish residents who are eligible low income households with their energy payments.”
“The valiant efforts by some lawmakers to get expanded Medicaid coverage for poor Louisianians are apparently dead for this session. The House Health and Welfare Committee rejected legislation Thursday to require the state to accept the federal expansion of the program. The Senate had already voted against taking the Medicaid money.”
“Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence plans to seek federal funding from the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, taking a different course for his state than other GOP governors, including Gov. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu cried foul Tuesday over a Louisiana state Senate panel’s decision last week to reject a measure that would have allowed state voters to say whether they want to expand Medicaid coverage under the health care law.”
“Federal funding totaling more than half a million dollars will continue to help Rapides Parish's homeless population through a variety of nonprofit programs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development renewed a grant for $613,296 to be divided among five agencies, each of which assists the homeless community in Central Louisiana.”
“The Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee halted a chance on Wednesday (April 23) for the full body to vote on a bill that would ‘let Louisiana decide’ on Medicaid expansion.”
“The number of chronically homeless people here has dropped dramatically, from 4,579 in 2009 to 677 in 2013. What's more remarkable is that Unity executive director Martha Kegel predicted this week the city could eliminate chronic homelessness by 2015, the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.”
“Louisiana won't raise its minimum wage. The House labor committee rejected bills Thursday that would have set a state minimum wage that's higher than the hourly federal rate of $7.25.”
“Consider working eight hours a day for five straight days and pulling in only $340. That’s how Reginald Junior described his reality to the House Labor Committee on Thursday — the day lawmakers considered creating a state minimum wage.”
“President Barack Obama's proposal to increase eligibility for the earned income tax credit would provide first-time benefits to 26,200 in Metro New Orleans and 22,100 in the Baton Rouge area, according to a new study. The proposal is aimed at helping low-wage workers without children.”
“The University of Louisville increased compensation for its lowest paid workers, mostly custodians, from $8.67 per hour to $10 in the fall. And amid debates before the Kentucky General Assembly and in Congress about whether the federal standard of $7.25 an hour should be boosted, UofL’s new ‘living wage’ will rise again July 1 to $10.25, in an annual progression to $11 per hour by 2017.”
“Groups that advocate for low-income families are asking Louisiana lawmakers to boost the state's minimum wage, saying too many workers are struggling with poverty in the state.”
“A handful of Democratic lawmakers are planning to push to raise the minimum wage in Louisiana during this spring's legislative session. The state is one of a few that does not have its own minimum wage, though it still abides by the federal standard of $7.25 per hour.”
“The Louisiana State Bond Commission and the city of New Orleans are a step closer toward settling a two-year-old federal housing discrimination lawsuit.”
“Louisiana's Democrats intend to make Medicaid expansion, equal pay for women and the minimum wage priorities during the 2014 state legislative session that starts in March. The Democrats pushed for at least two of these issues -- Medicaid expansion and equal pay for women -- last year as well, with mixed results.”
“On Wednesday, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration announced it was going to pursue those who used the glitch in the cards to go on an illicit shopping spree. Those found to have misused their food-stamp benefits could lose them — for a year for first-time offenders, more if this is a second or third offense.”
“’Imagine a community where no family is homeless’ ... as we approach the holidays, we are reminded of family and home, but for thousands of families home is not a reality, only a dream.”
“Louisiana's Medicaid program that cares for the poor, elderly and disabled has a $50 million budget deficit that state health officials are asking lawmakers to close with more money, rather than cuts.”
“In Louisiana alone, there are nearly a million people on the program. Funding for SNAP has jumped from $35 billion to almost $90 billion in 2012. Part of these increases can be explained by the recent recession, but certainly not all.”
“Some low-income Louisiana women who become pregnant in 2014 may not be covered for prenatal care because of a disconnect between new state and federal health care policies.”
“Gov. Jindal's refusal to accept almost $16 billion in extra Medicaid money was destined to hurt thousands of low-income Louisiana residents who lack health insurance.”
“Louisiana's state agencies remain largely unaffected by the federal government shutdown, with road construction on track, food stamps delivered and other programs continuing despite the disruption in Washington - so far.”
“Though the national poverty rate remained stagnant, the number of people living in poverty in the South rose from 18.4 million in 2011 to 19.1 million in 2012, according to a U.S. Census announcement made today.”
“The Justice Department has challenged my state in court for having the temerity to start a scholarship program that frees low-income minority children from failing schools. In other words, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder would rip children out of their schools and handcuff them to the failing schools they previously attended.”
“It should be clear by now that, regardless of criticism and public opinion, Gov. Bobby Jindal is not going to change his mind about opting out of the expansion of Medicaid and not setting up state insurance exchanges under the federal Affordable Care Act.”
“Almost three-fourths of students enrolled in the Iberia Parish public school system qualify for free or reduced lunch, according to information from the school system. According to 2011 U.S. Census data, less than a fourth of the general population in Iberia Parish are at or below poverty.”
“Most of the low-income residents who have depended on New Orleans’ system of primary care and mental health clinics for their medical needs should continue to receive that government-subsidized care in 2014, thanks to a new agreement reached by state and local health officials.”
“On Monday, the state withdrew its application to participate in the law's Community First Choice Program, designed to encourage more home health care for infirmed Medicaid patients. The withdrawal comes after Gov. Bobby Jindal refused to implement the law's Medicaid expansion, designed to provide health coverage for low-income people; and declined to establish a state online marketplace, where people can purchase insurance and qualify for subsidies.”
“The city of New Orleans and a coalition of homeless advocates and government agencies are close to achieving an ambitious goal -- finding housing for 200 chronically homeless people in 100 days.”
“Terrebonne Parish is getting lots of complaints about homeless people sleeping in parks or accosting people who walk by, says Parish Manager Al Levron. The council's Public Services Committee is expected to approve an ordinance that would make it a misdemeanor to sleep in parks and other public places, The Courier reported. The proposal is up for a vote Monday. If approved, it would be discussed at a public hearing Aug. 28.”
“The Rapides Parish School District and public school districts throughout Louisiana have programs designed to help, and they do so every year. We are glad they are there, and we wish there were more help available. The need is great. In Rapides Parish alone, where the average income is higher than in many other rural parishes, more than 400 schoolchildren were homeless during the 2012-13 academic year.”
“As recently as November 2008, the governor was also in favor of expanding coverage. It was called the ‘Louisiana Health First’ plan, and at its core was a simple proposition for the federal government: Let Louisiana use Medicaid dollars to buy private health coverage for low-income parents and caregivers who earned up to 50 percent of the federal poverty rate -- an estimated 60,000 people.”
“Today, millions of Americans find themselves struggling in poverty even while working a full-time job. The largest low-wage employer in the country, accounting for 39 percent of all workers earning at or below the minimum wage, is the restaurant industry.”
“Despite the fact that I was one of the first governors to publicly oppose Medicaid expansion and have consistently argued expansion would be bad for Louisiana's taxpayers, legislators tried to force expansion through stand-alone bills, amendments to unrelated bills, resolutions (that I can't veto), etc.”
“Two weeks ago, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, generated a strong response, both positive and negative, when he was quoted as saying that Louisiana should expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Now, Boustany is saying it isn't his position and that he agrees with Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision not to implement the Medicaid expansion that proponents say will provide health coverage for 400,000 uninsured Louisiana residents.”
“Since high school dropouts have few opportunities for good-paying jobs and often have to rely on publicly funded hospitals for health care, cutting the dropout rate by 50 percent could save the state as much as $119 million a year in Medicaid spending, a recent study shows.”
“Louisiana improved its national ranking on child well-being, rising to No. 46 out of 50, according to the annual report released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization.”
“Baton Rouge’s latest approach to addressing its homeless population is to offer them a bus ticket out of Louisiana’s capital city. The Metro Council approved Mayor-President Kip Holden’s mid-year budget allocation Wednesday, which among many other funds, included $5,000 for one-way bus tickets for homeless people.”
“Salvation Army case workers provide utility, housing and feeding assistance to local families in financial crisis. Homeless and transitional shelters provide services to the disenfranchised and the homeless. ‘The church is there to minister to low income residents and those struggling in the Monroe region, Jones said.'"
“We'll never pass laws that might help people climb out of poverty so long as we find it acceptable to charge them for the inconvenience of being broke.”
"’How in good conscience can we turn down 100 percent of anything that we know will tend to the needs of working class people in need?’ Sen. Peterson asked Monday when the Senate Finance Committee deferred action on her bill. How indeed?”
“Sen. David Vitter is quarreling with a Florida mobile phone company over a federal program called Lifeline that provides phones to low-income applicants. He spoke Monday in front of a Budget Mobile store on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, decrying fraud in the program.”
“The latest barrier being put in the way of children's interests is the decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that the funding method for the Louisiana Scholarship Program is unconstitutional. Fortunately there is a fix. Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature must find a different method to fund the program, which allows some low-income families to send their children to private and parochial schools.”
“An attempt to make a legislative end-run around Gov. Bobby Jindal's rejection of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana died in a Louisiana House committee Tuesday.”
“The push to force Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration to accept more federal dollars and expand health care coverage in Louisiana hit another roadblock Tuesday when a House committee rejected a resolution requiring the state's top health agency to expand Medicaid eligibility standards.”
“Together Louisiana, a coalition of 120 religious congregations, and AARP Louisiana rallied at the Capitol in late April, imploring Gov. Bobby Jindal to change his mind about rejecting the Medicaid money. Reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the nonpartisan state Legislative Fiscal Office and the governor's own Department of Health and Hospitals have detailed the ways in which Louisiana would benefit from the expansion.”
“A state Senate panel late Tuesday narrowly endorsed a revamped Medicaid expansion plan that would use the private insurance marketplace to provide health care coverage to Louisiana low-income adults.”
“Gov. Jindal seems to believe that the state's public hospital system can take care of the 214,000 Louisiana residents the administration estimates would remain without insurance. But hospitals are not the most efficient way to provide care, and low-income residents -- particularly in rural areas -- don't have easy access to a state-funded hospital. It is vital for Louisianians, who suffer from high rates of diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses, to get preventive care.”
“No matter the reasons, veterans find themselves homeless and displaced, and one local veteran organization says America's warriors deserve better. The Northeast Louisiana Veterans Association challenged the community Friday to help it raise funds to establish a shelter for homeless veterans.”
“Top Jindal administration health officials continued Tuesday to reject the idea of Medicaid expansion while state senators grilled them on the state's plan to care for its working uninsured without it.”
“Standing under a crucifix at Holy Angels Concert Hall on St. Claude Avenue, Martha Kegel announced to a crowd of nearly 200 people Wednesday that New Orleans has reduced its number of homeless residents to levels that rival pre-Katrina numbers.”
“Local low income children and families, people with disabilities and the elderly could have less access to social programs if the so-called sequester becomes reality today, and they would not be the only ones impacted by the sweeping federal spending cuts.”
“Gov. Christie said he's ‘no fan of the Affordable Care Act,’ but said that he has to ‘make all my judgments as governor based on what is best for New Jersey.’ That is what every governor should do. If only Gov. Bobby Jindal would do the same for Louisiana residents. Instead, he is stubbornly resisting the Medicaid expansion, which is a key component of the president's Affordable Care Act. In fact, he seems to be ratcheting up his opposition. That is a shame.”
“Jindal administration officials claim the benefits Louisiana would receive from participating in the Medicaid expansion have been broadly exaggerated. But the administration’s numbers have come under fire as well, as analysts of every stripe attempt to forecast how the national health care law will actually play out.”
“Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday he won't reconsider his refusal to expand Louisiana's Medicaid coverage under the federal health care law, even though a half dozen other Republican governors have agreed to participate.”
“A new study has unexpected good news for New Orleans' education system: Several high-poverty neighborhoods are sending a relatively low number of children to kindergarten who are considered ‘developmentally vulnerable,’ according to data released this week by the Orleans Public Education Network.”
“The statistics among vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly, are particularly sobering. In Orleans Parish, the child food insecurity rate is 20.9 percent, meaning 13,080 were food insecure. For East Baton Rouge, the percentage was 17.8, or 18,280 children. In south Louisiana, the problem isn't a lack of food, experts said, it's a lack of the right kinds of food, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.”
“Louisiana got poor marks for the availability of programs to provide crucial dental care to low-income children, according to a new report by the Pew Center on the States. The review found that less than a quarter of ‘high-need’ schools have programs to put sealant on children's teeth to prevent tooth decay.”
“The Imagination Library mails age-appropriate books to impoverished homes for children up through age 5, in an effort to jumpstart their interest in reading and increase their literacy. ‘From birth to 5 is when the brain is growing and absorbing the most,’ Fisher said. ‘If they start kindergarten and they're not prepared, they're already behind. A kindergarten teacher can tell when a child hasn't been exposed to books.’”
“Two local organizations that have made a significant difference in ending hunger and poverty in the metro New Orleans area were honored Dec. 9 with the Lindy Boggs Hunger Awareness Award during the New Orleans Bread for the World Hunger Awareness Award Meal at Loyola University in New Orleans.”
"Louisiana's health department is acknowledging that planned cuts in the state's Medicaid program will eliminate hospice care for all Medicaid recipients beginning in February."
"Parents of children treated in a unique mental health treatment program axed in last week's mid-year budget reductions said the intensive counseling and other services provided gave their kids a firm footing to start school despite severe struggles. The 10-year-old program, called Early Childhood Supports and Services, targets children dealing with mental health problems and those at risk to develop them, perhaps because of a parent's own troubles. Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, co-clinical director of the program, said the children age 6 and younger come from low-income families and include many who have been exposed to violence either in their homes or neighborhoods."
"One analysis by George Mason University economists predicted that the cumulative impact of no budget deal would cost Louisiana 28,000 jobs. For starters, according to the Pew Center on the States, a failure to reach a deal would cut 6.6 percent of all federal grants to Louisiana on an annual basis. Since much of that money has already been budgeted, it will like result in even more cuts by the state of Louisiana."
“Julia B. Isaacs and Olivia Healy, authors of the ‘The Recession's Ongoing Impact on Children, 2012’ citing two studies, found that parental job loss can harm children in several different ways, including economic hardship, poverty, grade repetition and future success in the labor market.”
“Evidence increasingly points to the fact that the spill has taken a terrible toll on people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy coast. While the media rarely covers the socioeconomic damage, it appears to be considerable -- and increasing rather than abating. Recent census data indicate that, between 2009 and 2011, the national poverty rate rose from 14.3 percent to 15.9 percent -- an 11 percent rate of increase. In coastal counties in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, poverty rates spiked by as much as 33 percent.”
“One year after the New Orleans Mission evicted a homeless woman because she was seven months pregnant, it has agreed to end such discriminatory practices, undergo fair housing training and provide financial restitution to the victim, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center announced Monday. The case highlights the scarce resources available to women in a city with a rapidly expanding homeless population.”
“Gov. Bobby Jindal's excuses for his refusal to accept the expansion of Medicaid provided by the Affordable Care Act are getting weaker. He keeps arguing that the state can't afford its share of the cost for the roughly 400,000 low income Louisianians who would qualify. But a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation came up with a dramatically smaller number than the Jindal administration for the state's portion.”
“Three Metro Council members say they want to make it more difficult for liquor stores and bars to open in low-income areas that are already brimming with alcohol outlets. Councilwomen Tara Wicker, Ronnie Edwards and Donna Collins-Lewis are proposing changes in city-parish ordinances that would give the Alcohol Beverage Control board more leverage to reject requests for liquor licenses.”
“The chief targets of the LFT's wrath, as they have been for months, are two laws enacted earlier this year. One expanded Louisiana's voucher program from New Orleans only to a statewide choice for low-income students attending troubled public schools to switch to private and parochial schools at state expense.”
“The idea of the developments is to prevent those on the cusp of homelessness from getting there and to rescue from the streets the most vulnerable of the existing homeless population. In the latter instance, the goal is to make people more self-sufficient through the permanent supportive housing that connects chronic homeless with on-site case management services.”
“Covenant House provided shelter for more than 640 homeless teenagers and young adults over the past year, but there are thousands of other people who are sleeping in abandoned houses, in parks and on downtown streets. A February count by Unity of Greater New Orleans found 4,903 homeless residents, which is a significant decrease from the 11,600 counted in 2007.”
“As benign and uplifting as this may sound, in New Orleans ‘building better’ was often code for a political agenda. It meant attempting to rezone low-lying areas as ‘nonviable’ -- and then turning them over to large-scale developers: a post-flood, backdoor route to old-fashioned urban renewal. Low-income residents were discouraged from returning to their neighborhoods -- in part because they were often the last to get power, water and other services. Damaged schools were permanently closed, providing opportunities to replace them with privatized alternatives.”
“On any given night, several hundred people live on the streets in Monroe. A number of them took part Friday in Operation Stand Down, where they received a number of services from local homeless care providers. The third annual Operation Stand Down was hosted by the Home Coalition of Northeast Louisiana at Jackson Street Church of Christ in southern Monroe. The homeless were able to get health care screenings, social services, housing assistance, a meal and clothing.”
“After Charity Hospital's doors were shuttered following Hurricane Katrina, the poor and uninsured who had depended on the public hospital for everything from emergencies to routine maladies were left without ready access to health care. But in that vacuum, something new took root, at least in the New Orleans area. Community health centers sprouted up to fill the need, with existing centers expanding into other neighborhoods and new clinics growing out of makeshift outfits that opened their doors in the chaotic days after the storm.”
“The area under the expressway near the New Orleans Mission has long been a favored place for the homeless to congregate, and in turn, has been a continual headache for the city. In the past three years, the city has twice cleared out two large encampments in the area. But the homeless keep coming back.”
“With the state's charity hospital system budget undergoing deep cuts, the indigent population could lose its primary health-care provider - and medical students their teaching hospital. The prosperous medical community in Lafayette now is faced with figuring out how to fill in those gaps.”
“For a number of years, the church has organized four outreach teams of church members that feed the homeless every Monday night at the foot of the Endom Bridge, provide care packages to hospitals and emergency responders, and assist anyone in need in their community.”
“The Lafayette Parish School System should look for ways to diversify the student population on its campuses if it wants to improve achievement in its high-poverty schools, Lafayette City-Parish Council member Kenneth Boudreaux said during a Monday evening forum focused on the impact of poverty on schools.”
“Northeastern Louisiana has a system in place to help the homeless through a number of homeless service providers, officials with The Wellspring say. A majority of those providers have waiting lists, however, and the needs outstrip the available funding and resources.”
“On any given day, homeless people by the dozens can be found under the Pontchartrain Expressway on the border of the Central Business District and Central City. That encampment might soon meet its end, though, as the city works to implement a 10-year plan to end homelessness. Stacy Koch, director of neighborhood services, facilities and homeless policy for the New Orleans Interagency Council on Homelessness, told a City Council committee on Monday that the city is looking for ways to move out from under the expressway those people who call it home.”
“The Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition began its Homeless Awareness and Advocacy Week Monday with events scheduled through the week to raise awareness and get support from the local community. The coalition covers eight parishes”
“Locally, the VA partners with the Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition in order to direct the area's homeless population toward services. ‘Our numbers have declined with veterans,’ said Rena Powell, Alexandria Veterans Affairs Medical Center Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program Coordinator. ‘I'd like to think it's from all the programs we have implemented. We're on a five-year plan, and we have three years to go.’”
“Jindal said the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion, is too costly and he is one of nine GOP governors who declined to implement the Medicaid expansion. Jointly funded by federal and state governments, Medicaid provides health coverage for low-income citizens. But New Orleans officials said they are encouraged by a Medicaid waiver that has allowed the city to provide preventative care at no charge to uninsured low-income residents and on a sliding scale, based on income, for others.”
“There were more Louisiana residents living in poverty in 2011 than the year before, growing from 18.7 percent of the state's population in 2010 to 20.4 percent in 2011, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data. That increase means 83,231 more Louisiana residents were living in poverty last year than in 2010.”
“The Monroe metropolitan region saw the highest increase of poverty rates in the state from 2010 to 2011, according to data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau. Throughout the state, the Monroe metropolitan region - which includes Ouachita and Union parishes - had the highest increase of poverty at 7 percent, followed by Alexandria at 3.7 percent.”
“The ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ program is a national movement that provides snacks and reading material to low-income children each weekend, Anzelmo-Skelton said. ‘Poverty affects a child's physical, social and academic well-being,’ Munchausen said. ‘When children, especially young children, experience poverty, they are at great risk for difficulties throughout life.’”
“In just about every major indicator of public health, Louisiana comes in near the bottom of the rankings. That's due in great part to poverty and the relative limited access to health care that comes with it, especially for many people with chronic diseases. It makes sense, then, that eight medical centers and schools in the state are forging a partnership to increase research, clinical testing of new treatments and the training of doctors studying diseases among the poor.”
“Several dozen local residents gathered Friday to learn how to become allies to their neighbors stuck in generational poverty to help lead them to a better life. A two-day summit began Friday at the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home, hosted by Elain Ellerbe, who's associated with the statewide organization, Resources Benefiting Families.”
“While many examinations of poverty look at a family's income, this study of ‘asset poverty’ looks at how large a financial cushion households have to protect them in times of crisis.”
“The federal government has joined the fight to develop apartments for the disabled homeless and low-income renters, against staunch opposition from Esplanade Avenue neighbors. The U.S. Department of Justice last week filed a fair-housing lawsuit against the city of New Orleans on behalf of the controversial proposal to transform an abandoned nursing home into a 40-unit apartment building.”
“Elain Ellerbe will lead a two-day workshop next week to teach local people how to deal with poverty effectively by becoming allies to those in need.”
“He hopes people throughout northeast Louisiana will be the source of spirit and determination for others in the community. He's calling on local residents to provide a shoulder to others in need, walk with them over the bridge out of poverty, and celebrate as they cross the finish line to a better life.
To achieve this goal, Watson, a pastor at First Baptist Church of West Monroe, said a number of local churches, faith-based organizations and community leaders plan to train people to become mentors of local residents living in poverty.”
“Open to any low-income family with a child slated to attend a school rated C or below, the program could technically have drawn as many as 380,000 applicants. Yet more families ultimately asked for a spot than could be accommodated at the 119 participating schools. Of the 9,750 applications deemed eligible, about 5,600 got matched to a seat.”
“Paze is among the estimated 4,900 people in a New Orleans-area homeless population that's nearly 2 1/2 times bigger than it was seven years ago, before the region's levees failed, flooding the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”
“Most of the schools' homeless students are defined as ‘unaccompanied youth,’ temporarily living with another family or adult who is not their legal guardian, or alone without an adult. Some are ‘unsheltered youth,’ without a stable place to sleep every night. The Orleans Parish School Board provides services for homeless students: free lunches, school supplies and uniforms, referrals for housing, jobs and medical attention.”
“The center also houses homeless working women, provides basic education for adults, works with Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute food boxes, and houses out-of-town volunteers helping rebuild the city post-Katrina.”
"The Orleans Parish School Board plans to lay off about 21 employees, largely because of a drop in federal funding for low-income students and those with special needs. The list of staff losing their jobs includes four teachers, two of whom are being cut because of plans to merge McDonogh 35 High School and the Architecture Design Engineering Preparatory High School."
"Some residents camped out overnight at the Domingue Recreation Center for a good spot in line to get on the waiting list for federal housing vouchers, which offer low-income families assistance with rent."
"Southeast Louisiana bucked national trends and became less poor than it was a decade ago, largely because of new investment due to rebuilding efforts and because of the post-Katrina diaspora, which forced many of the city's poor families to find housing outside the region, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released Thursday by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center."
"'The state has the highest rate of poverty, the highest rate of children living in single parent households, the lowest average life expectancy, and the highest rate of births among teenagers.' Other states listed among the 'least' peaceful states in the country were South Carolina (9th), Arkansas (8th), Texas (7th), Missouri (6th), Arizona (5th), Florida (4th), Nevada (3rd), Tennessee (2nd) and Louisiana (1st)."
"Newly appointed Councilwoman Diana Bajoie said that she was relieved to hear that homeless people would be able to find respite from the day's heat in the mission's dayroom. With the new schedule and augmented services promised on Friday at a press conference at City Hall, homeless people 'can sit in the cool and do something to lift themselves out of their situation,' she said."
"The couple's departure could remake the oft-criticized shelter, which is one of the city's largest. On Monday night, it housed 136 people, according to records maintained by the shelter and UNITY of Greater New Orleans, the group of agencies that provides services to the homeless in Jefferson and Orleans parishes."
"Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools."
"Johnnie Suer had a malignant tumor on his forehead so big that he felt "like a unicorn," and he was homeless. The New Orleans native went through a series of three surgeries beginning in November that left dents in his skull, and each time he left the hospital he went back to sleeping in his late-model minivan, parked on Dumaine Street in the 6th Ward."
“Senators questioned the costs Monday of a bill that would prevent welfare recipients from using their benefit cards to buy alcohol or tobacco, making purchases at certain types of businesses or getting their payments as cash from ATMs.”
"For the second time this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center has filed a civil rights complaint against the Jefferson Parish School Board, this time alleging it sends a disproportionate number of black and disabled students to alternative schools to languish for months."
"Some say that Allen Wilfred drove his city bus to the corner of Canal and Broad streets, walked off for the last time and ended up spending the next 20 years sleeping at that bus stop, becoming one of the city's most familiar homeless people."
"But it also serves to highlight complicated links between poverty, nutrition, obesity and overall well-being. Insecurity or hunger? 'Those public service announcements come back to haunt me,' said Mark Nord, the USDA sociologist in charge of food insecurity data."
"It now appears that the financial and administrative upheaval at the Lafayette Housing Authority in the past two years spilled over into a low-income housing project that was under construction."
"The state Legislature signed off on plans to bring vouchers statewide earlier this month, opening up a small pilot program that began in New Orleans to any low-income family in Louisiana with a student attending or slated to attend a school rated C or below."
"Louisiana teachers will face tougher standards for keeping tenure, more charter schools will sprout around the state, and some low-income students will get private school tuition vouchers from state taxpayers under a sweeping package Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Wednesday with considerable fanfare."
"Carter said the bill offers 'more educational options for low income children' and is 'likely to achieve a financial savings for the state' because the scholarship cost for private and parochial schools could be lower than what the state pays public schools."
"Last year, the USDA launched an interactive website that highlights 'food deserts,' defined as low-income census tracts where a substantial number of residents have low access to a large supermarket or a grocery store. Low income means the area has a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher or median family income is at or below 80 percent of overall median family income. "
"The Medicaid program already does a good job covering low-income children, pregnant women and the disabled. But the working poor, people with jobs that offer no health coverage or unaffordable insurance, have few options. That will change beginning in 2014."
"The three-day conference, which started Wednesday at the Astor Crowne Plaza, is the first ever convening to focus on what's now known as the 'Housing First' model. A growing body of research shows that most homeless people, even grizzled street dwellers plagued with addictions and severe mental illness, are better able to stay housed if they move into an apartment first and are then offered an array of services."
"Talbot, joined by Jindal's policy chief Stafford Olivia Palmieri, pitched his proposal as another choice for parents of low-income children. Palmieri said the contribution-rebate model would dovetail with the governor's separate proposal to use the state's public school financing formula to pay tuition for certain low-income children."
"The homeless population in New Orleans is estimated to be about 6,500, among the highest of an American municipality, despite the city's relatively modest population. VA estimates about 2,600 of those people are veterans."
"Studies across the country have long been saying families can't survive on the low wages that are available to them. A 2010 Michigan study determined a single mother with two children living in that state needed to earn more than $24 an hour in order to pay necessities such as housing, utilities, insurance, gas and food."
"The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will spend $6 million to open a new homeless center in New Orleans. The homeless center will be in the first floor of an addition to a downtown VA hospital. The center will be a place where veterans and homeless citizens can get help finding housing and health care services."
"Louisiana has been pushing to get more low-income children covered by health insurance, and that worthwhile effort is paying off. The percentage of uninsured children fell to 3.5 percent in 2011, according to LSU's Public Policy Research Laboratory."
"When Freddie and Elnora Patterson drive around town and see homeless people, it bothers them - a common reaction. Three years ago, they made a less common reaction. They started doing something about it. The Pattersons formed God's Daily Bread Outreach Center, a ministry that provides donated food and clothes to the homeless and others in need."
"The similarities among schools in urban and rural settings where he worked New Orleans, Tensas, Baton Rouge were strong, he said. 'One of the biggest things we had in common is the poverty and the background these kids come from. It wasn't so much about race as much as poverty,' said Dobard, an African-American."
"The Foundation for Child Development’s new report on state-level differences in the Index of Child Well-Being – a broad quality-of-life indicator based on 25 indicators – shows enormous variation, as does another set of indicators known as Kids Count, developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation."
"'You combine those two things, as well as the poverty rates and the lack of education you sometimes get down here, and it's just a disaster,' said Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama and a member of the steering committee for the initiative, which goes by the initials SASI."
"When 45 percent of black children live below the poverty line, when 35 percent of Hispanic children live below the poverty line and 22 percent of all children live below the poverty line ... when a nation will spend $10 million for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and 3.5 million are homeless, don't tell me these are not the worst of times."
"John White, who is expected to be Louisiana's next state superintendent of education, said he decided to become an educator while working on his senior thesis in English at the University of Virginia."
"The announcement coincides with a Department of Veterans Affairs report that estimates the number of homeless veterans in the United States is falling because more resources are addressing the problem."
"Tulane University and one of the country's most prominent public charter school operators plan to sign a new agreement today with the dual aim of boosting college graduation rates among at-risk students and producing more qualified teachers."
"The city of New Orleans wants to find ways to address the needs, however wide-ranging, of each of these homeless people through a 10-year 'plan to end homelessness' that Mayor Mitch Landrieu will announce today."
"The state will seek a share of $200 million set aside by the Obama Administration to help states increase access to quality education for low-income and disadvantaged children."
"Oaks said most of the park's residents get along but there have been some problems with homeless people who, in his opinion, grab too much of the donated food, mess up the bathrooms and cause other disorder."
"The policy group Louisiana Progress used a wonkish term, 'food insecurity,' to describe the large number of families worrying about their next meal. Even in good times for others, poverty can threaten the diets and thus the health and future prospects of Louisiana families."
"Emanuel Lowe said he remembers what it felt like to be homeless for an entire year of his life. Lowe, 59, had fallen on hard times six years ago when, while living in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina hit and sent his life into a whirlwind."
"He cautioned that several competing interest groups would want input in the audit process. Groups representing business interests, environmental agendas and low-income Gulf residents already have lobbied claims fund officials."
"For instance, the report says Louisiana ranks 14th-best in terms of jobs, based on unemployment data, and that there are 37 states with higher percentage of families unable to meet their food needs than Louisiana's 12.6 percent."
"A battle over raising the minimum wage for tipped service industry workers is brewing in Washington, D.C. A measure under consideration in Congress would lift the hourly pay rate from $2.13, where it has been since 1991, to $3.75 within in 90 days of the bill's approval and potentially above $5 a hour."
"More than one in five Ouachita Parish residents, 20.8 percent, live below the poverty line. That compares to 17.6 percent in Louisiana and 14.3 percent in the nation, according to statistics provided by Bob Eisenstadt, director of the University of Louisiana at Monroe's Center for Economic and Business Research."
"In its report on the high dropout rate in public high schools, titled "A Future at Risk," the Public Affairs Research Council makes the point that not only the dropout's future, but also the state's future is at risk."
"Thanks to a pair of young marketing executives, the city's homeless will be able to meet many of their needs today in Hall J of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center."
"A 50-year-old credit union has won a $3 million federal grant to lend money for grocery stores and places to buy healthy food in low-income communities."
"In-home health providers who care for Louisiana Medicaid patients say they have been unfairly targeted by health department"
"The Louisiana lawsuit puts the Labor Department back in the middle of a running feud between employers and labor advocates over one of the few programs that bring Mexican and other foreign low-wage workers legally to the United States."
"The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to produce affordable housing for low-income families. "