New Orleans Youth Index

Child poverty down, and 6 more facts from New Orleans Youth Index, By  Danielle Dreilinger, December 16, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “New Orleans’ young people could thrive if conditions were different. That’s what The Data Center says in its 2016 Youth Index, released Wednesday (Dec. 14). The report compiles figures on poverty, education, housing and other factors that shape lives. It updates the 2015 edition…”

Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans

Poverty worsens for African-Americans since Hurricane Katrina, Data Center reports, By Richard A. Webster, August 1, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Despite many of the positive economic gains New Orleans made in the 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, black families continue to struggle while the gap between the rich and poor grows wider, casting a pall over the recovery. In addition, poverty is increasing in the surrounding parishes ‘undermining social cohesion and resilience capacity across the region,’ according to the Data Center. The nonprofit research organization examined income trends as part of ‘The New Orleans Index at 10,’ its report analyzing the region’s recovery since the storm…”

Affordable Housing – New Orleans, LA

Where will working poor live in future New Orleans, if gentrification continues?, By Robert McClendon, July 30, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Twenty-year-old Jonquille Floyd is on the hunt for an apartment. Like many New Orleanians without much of a formal education, he works in the hospitality industry, washing dishes at a touristy French Quarter restaurant. It’s minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, plus some lagniappe from the wait staff who share tips with him for fetching water and the like. It’s not his long-term plan. He’s going to school in the fall to study welding. In the meantime, he has to find a place to live. At his pay, he thinks he can afford something in the realm of $650, with some help from Covenant House, the shelter where he lives now…”

Child Poverty – New Orleans, LA

39% of New Orleans children live in poverty, well above national average, report says, By Rebecca Catalanello, February 26, 2015, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Poverty is depriving New Orleans children of healthy brain development and increasing the likelihood that their lives will be steeped in trauma and lifelong learning difficulties.  That’s according to new research from The Data Center, a New Orleans-based research organization that compiles and analyzes data for the purposes of informing public policy discussion.  Thirty-nine percent of New Orleans children live in poverty. That is more than 17 percentage points higher than the national average — and the ninth highest child poverty rate among 39 cities with populations between 275,000 and 600,000, according to the report…”

New Orleans Economic Report

New Orleans shows striking potential, persistent problems, 8 years after Hurricane Katrina, economic report says, by Mark Waller, August 14, 2013, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “With the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina impending, the New Orleans area is showing encouraging signs that it might be pulling off a rare reversal of a once-entrenched economic decline, but some weaknesses persist, concludes the latest check on the region’s economic health by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. The Data Center’s report, called the New Orleans Index at Eight and released Wednesday, compared the city to national averages, a group of growing cities that New Orleans might hope to emulate and a group of cities with moribund economic numbers from 1990 to 2000, more resembling New Orleans during the same period…”

Early Childhood Development – New Orleans, LA

Fewer kindergarteners in high-poverty New Orleans neighborhoods ‘developmentally vulnerable,’ study finds, By Danielle Dreilinger, February 8, 2013, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “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. Children entering elementary school with certain social and intellectual deficits are likely to struggle academically. The findings come from the Early Development Instrument, an internationally respected survey that measures kids’ health, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, communication and general knowledge. Children are considered developmentally vulnerable if they score in the bottom 10th percentile in at least two of the five areas. The measure is strongly tied to how well 4th-graders score on standardized tests…”

States and Medicaid Expansion

  • Medicaid expansion rejected by Louisiana may be pursued in New Orleans, By Bruce Alpert, September 25, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “With Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration opting out of the Medicaid expansion offered in the federal Affordable Care Act, New Orleans officials say they are looking for ways to go it alone. Jindal announced his decision after the Supreme Court in June upheld the constitutionality of the health-care overhaul legislation but ruled that states can’t be compelled to expand Medicaid, a key component of President Barack Obama’s goal of providing near universal health coverage by 2014…”
  • Report: Medicaid boost would save Arizona money, By Mary Reinhart, September 26, 2012, Arizona Republic: “Expanding Medicaid under federal health reform would save state tax dollars, create thousands of jobs and provide government-paid health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans, according to a new report from a bipartisan think tank. Research from the Grand Canyon Institute, whose board includes former Republican and Democratic state lawmakers, shows that with a $1.5 billion investment over the first four years the state would collect nearly $8 billion in federal funding and insure an additional 435,000 people by 2017…”
  • In Arkansas, governor changes course on health care to help uninsured, struggling Democrats, Associated Press, September 25, 2012, Washington Post: “President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul has never been popular in Arkansas, a state where even most Democrats regard the law as politically toxic. But with a quarter of the state’s working-age population uninsured, a governor who once said he would have voted against the law now wants to use it to widen government-funded coverage to thousands of additional families. And he’s relying on the move to help prevent a Republican takeover of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Gov. Mike Beebe, the first Southern governor to back the law’s expansion of Medicaid, has become an unlikely advocate for a central part of the overhaul that would expand Medicaid, a position made easier by the fact that he’s not seeking re-election…”

Asset Poverty – New Orleans, LA

Asset poverty is a big problem in New Orleans, where many have no cash cushion, By Rebecca Mowbray, August 14, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Some 37 percent of New Orleans households would not be able to survive for more than three months without falling into poverty if their main source of income were disrupted, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Ford Foundation. 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…”

Poverty Rate – Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri

  • Poverty strikes a smaller percentage in southeast Louisiana in wake of Hurricane Katrina, By Katy Reckdahl, June 28, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “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-Hurricane 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. Calling the post-Katrina exodus ‘the largest population displacement since the Dust Bowl,’ the study noted that it ‘changed the map of poverty’ in the 13-parish region considered southeast Louisiana. Between 1999 and 2010, parishes that flooded after Katrina lost thousands of their poor residents: Orleans Parish lost 50,000, St. Bernard lost 4,000 and Plaquemines lost nearly 2,400. But the rest of the region showed little increase in poverty, suggesting that most poor people relocated outside the region…”
  • Poverty strikes health, education across region, By Andrew Nash, June 28, 2012, Pittsburg Morning Sun: “The freezers at the Wesley House are running out of meat. One freezer contains just five packages of hot dogs, while another freezer holds three small packages of edamame beans and one package of deer hamburger. All told, freezers that should be full are empty and becoming more empty. These freezers are supposed to be full of proteins for those who need it – a surprisingly large number in this region. These pantries tend to get low from time to time during the year, but the cupboards are bare a little earlier this year. Bare cupboards and freezers at the Wesley House are just one symptom of an ongoing problem in the Four States region. Declining health statistics and poor economic conditions are two more symptoms. The pervasive problem in this region is poverty, and it’s not going to go away. Pick any figure that details the impoverished, and those in Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri will be among the worst of the bunch…”

Chronic Homelessness – New Orleans, LA

Chronic, longtime homelessness has been nearly halved in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, By Katy Reckdahl, May 23, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “For 28 years, Miller Osbey survived with the help of a shopping cart. But for six weeks now, the massive plastic buggy has been parked inside Osbey’s living room, near the front door. Osbey, 60, patted the cart fondly as he passed it earlier this week. ‘I ain’t gonna let it go,’ he said. Less than two months ago, Osbey moved into one of 2,116 apartments in Orleans and Jefferson parishes that house homeless people with severe disabilities. The apartments aim to keep even severely impaired homeless people housed by pairing rental vouchers with intensive social services and mental health and medical services, paid for by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Housing Authority of New Orleans and various state agencies. A separate federal program provides similar housing and services through the local Veterans Affairs hospital for homeless veterans…”

Relocated Public Housing Residents

Relocating public housing residents must be done responsibly, study says, By Katy Reckdahl, April 19, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “As the Housing Authority of New Orleans moves Iberville development residents in preparation for this fall’s demolitions, new Urban Institute research emphasizes the need for ‘responsible relocation strategies’ for public housing residents. Such plans are necessary to ensure both the residents’ well-being and to maintain the stability of the high-poverty neighborhoods where residents are likely to relocate, researchers contend. Urban Institute researchers, who have conducted a wide body of research on relocated public housing residents, have known for a while that public housing residents who moved out of dilapidated old ‘projects’ end up in better, safer housing, although still in very poor, very segregated neighborhoods. In general, residents who leave are less anxious about crime, which has for decades plagued the troubled public housing developments in New Orleans and elsewhere…”

Homeless Rate – New Orleans, LA

Report places New Orleans’ homeless rate at second in the nation, By Katy Reckdahl, February 5, 2012, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “With a homeless population estimated at almost 6,700, the New Orleans metro area has the second-highest rate of homelessness in the nation. So says a new report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The report, which focused on the years 2009 to 2011, found the national rate of homelessness was 21 per 10,000 residents in 2011. New Orleans’ rate was nearly three times the national average, at 56 per 10,000, barely lower than Tampa, Fla., which ranked highest with 57…”

Achievement Gaps – New Orleans, Washington DC

  • New Orleans public school achievement gap is narrowing, By Andrew Vanacore, August 7, 2011, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “For as long as records have been kept, black students in New Orleans’ public schools have lagged far behind the city’s white students on the annual exams that Louisiana uses to track student achievement, reflecting wide income disparities and other factors. What’s more, black students in the city have traditionally fallen behind their black peers in the rest of the state, where the so-called achievement gap has historically been less pronounced. That second metric changed this year for the first time. State data show that 53 percent of African-American youngsters in New Orleans scored at grade level or better on state tests this spring, compared with 51 percent of black students across Louisiana. Just four years ago, only 32 percent of black students in New Orleans had achieved grade level, compared with 43 percent statewide…”
  • Huge achievement gaps persist in D.C. schools, By Bill Turque, August 6, 2011, Washington Post: “The gulf in academic achievement separating public schools in the District’s poorest neighborhoods from those in its most affluent has narrowed slightly in some instances but remains vast, an analysis of 2011 test score data show. Children in Ward 7 and 8 schools trailed their Ward 3 peers in reading and math pass rates by huge margins – from 41 to 56 percentage points – on this year’s D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System exams. The tests are given annually to students in grades 3 through 8 and 10…”

Public Housing – New Orleans, LA

New Orleans unveils fresh model for housing the poor, By Rick Jervis, August 3, 2011, USA Today: “The decaying brick buildings of what was known as the Magnolia Projects are now rows of freshly painted town homes with ornate balconies and manicured lawns. Stoops where dealers once sold dope and shot at rivals have been replaced by a clubhouse featuring a flat-screen TV and a pool where neighborhood kids splash. The Magnolia Projects, once one of the city’s most notorious public housing complexes, today is Harmony Oaks Apartments, a 460-unit mix of government-subsidized and market-priced apartments. It replaces one of six public housing projects across the city recently razed to make room for new apartments and a fresh approach to housing the city’s poor.The Magnolia Projects, once one of the city’s most notorious public housing complexes, today is Harmony Oaks Apartments, a 460-unit mix of government-subsidized and market-priced apartments. It replaces one of six public housing projects across the city recently razed to make room for new apartments and a fresh approach to housing the city’s poor…”

Affordable Housing – Pennsylvania, Louisiana

  • Priced Out: High rents drive housing crisis, December 3, 2010, Centre Daily Times: “While local governments have devoted much attention in recent years to concerns over the lack of affordable housing, the debate has largely centered on the need for ‘work force’ housing, which would put home ownership within reach of more people. Almost unnoticed in the discussion was another aspect of the housing issue: the lack of affordable rental housing. But last summer, members of the Centre County Affordable Housing Coalition sounded a warning. The lack of low-income housing, they said, had become a crisis. For the past several months, CDT reporters have sought out experts in housing, both in Centre County and across the state, and talked with dozens of people who told tales of being on the brink of homelessness because of low-paying jobs, lost jobs, illnesses and misjudgments. Together, they paint a picture of a long-standing problem made more visible by the economic downturn. Andy Haines, of S&A Homes, stated it clearly: ‘A lot of people have lost jobs. They’re not looking to buy houses. They’re looking to keep a roof over their heads…'”
  • New Orleans still lacks affordable housing for its poorest people, report says, By Katy Reckdahl, November 24, 2010, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Like other parts of Louisiana, New Orleans still lacks housing that is affordable to its poorest people, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency found in a statewide assessment of housing needs released this week. Policymakers now have more data showing where housing is needed, said Alison Jones, LHFA board chairwoman, who expressed hope that the data would ‘facilitate agreement … to help move forward critically needed housing projects.’ Time is running out on legislators’ last-ditch efforts to extend or allow the exchange of Gulf Opportunity Zone tax credits, which expire at the end of this year…”

Hurricane Katrina Recovery at 5-Year Anniversary

  • A tale of two recoveries, By Michael A. Fletcher, August 27, 2010, Washington Post: “The massive government effort to repair the damage from Hurricane Katrina is fostering a stark divide as the state governments in Louisiana and Mississippi structured the rebuilding programs in ways that often offered the most help to the most affluent residents. The result, advocates say, has been an uneven recovery, with whites and middle-class people more likely than blacks and low-income people to have rebuilt their lives in the five years since the horrific storm…”
  • On Katrina anniversary, recovery takes hold, By Campbell Robertson, August 27, 2010, New York Times: “This city, not that long ago, appeared to be lost. Only five years have passed since corpses were floating through the streets, since hundreds of thousands of survivors sat in hotel rooms and shelters and the homes of relatives, learning from news footage that they were among the ranks of the homeless. For most of the last year, in many parts of the city, the waters finally seemed to be receding. In November, a federal judge ruled that much of the flooding after Hurricane Katrina was a result of the negligence of the Army Corps of Engineers, vindicating New Orleanians, who had hammered this gospel for four years. In January, the federal government cleared the way for nearly half a billion dollars in reimbursement for the city’s main public hospital, an acceleration of funds that led to the announcement this week that nearly two billion more would be coming in a lump-sum settlement for city schools…”
  • Billions in Katrina relief funds still unspent, By Geoff Pender, August 27, 2010, Miami Herald: “More than a quarter of the $20 billion in Housing and Urban Development relief funds earmarked for Gulf states after Katrina remains unspent five years after the storm, a fact noticed by at least one congressional leader eager to spend it elsewhere. In June, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, ordered data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development into how much remains unspent from the more than $20 billion in Community Development Block Grant hurricane relief funds earmarked for Gulf states after the 2005 storms. The answer: about $5.4 billion, including $3 billion of the $13 billion earmarked for Louisiana and $2 billion of the $5.5 billion for Mississippi…”
  • New Orleans five years after Katrina: Chins up, hopes high, August 26, 2010, The Economist: “It is still obvious to any visitor-especially one who ventures out of the French Quarter, with its restaurants and night clubs, into the unstarred districts of the city. Something awful happened here in the not-too-distant past. The signs are everywhere: empty lots overgrown by weeds, ramshackle, leaning houses, derelict public buildings still awaiting restoration. Some houses feature ‘Katrina tattoos’ sprayed by rescuers as they completed house-by-house searches in 2005. Nobody at home. And yet New Orleans has undoubtedly recovered its essence. The old neighbourhoods are almost intact, and the city’s irrepressible people have mostly returned. Experts estimate that perhaps 360,000 people now live in a city that was home to around 100,000 more on the day disaster struck. Those who left were probably disproportionately black and poor. Yet the city’s large black majority, still there and mostly still poor, has ensured that the extravagant culture of New Orleans has survived the flood unharmed…”
  • Disasters widen the rich-poor gap, By John Mutter, August 25, 2010, Nature.com: “As the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, recovery in New Orleans is patchy. The hurricane flushed out many of the poorer people. For those who remained, almost without exception, the poorer neighbourhoods have experienced the slowest repopulation and recovery of basic amenities such as schools, shops and petrol stations. The poorest district of New Orleans – the Lower Ninth Ward – has about 24% of its former residents, whereas the wealthy Central Business District has seen 157% repopulation. Low-income black workers were seven times more likely to lose their pre-Katrina jobs than higher-income white workers. And low-income people have found it more difficult to attain basic living conditions, including good access to health care – in 2008 there were 38% fewer hospital beds available in New Orleans than before the storm…”

Post-Katrina Recovery – New Orleans, LA

Hope, reality collide in post-Katrina New Orleans, By Becky Bohrer and Peter Prengaman (AP), August 26, 2009, Washington Post: “Shelia Phillips doesn’t see the New Orleans that Mayor Ray Nagin talks about, the one on its way to having just as many people and a more diverse economy than it did before Hurricane Katrina. How could she? From the front porch of her house in the devastated Lower 9th Ward, it’s hard to see past the vegetation slowly swallowing the property across the way. Nearby homes are boarded up or still bear the fading tattoos left by search and rescue teams nearly four years ago. The fence around a playground a few blocks down is padlocked. ‘I just want to see people again,’ she said recently, swatting bugs in the muggy heat. On paper, the city’s economy appears to be thriving, with relatively low unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. But in post-Katrina New Orleans, residents’ perceptions of their city’s recovery tends to depend on where they live, their vantage point of it. Swaths of some neighborhoods are sparsely populated, even desolate, and federal rebuilding dollars have provided much of the economic resilience…”