American Rescue Plan Act

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law on March 11, 2021, dispersing $1.9 trillion of relief and support directly to state and local governments. The City of New Orleans has received an allocation totaling nearly $388 million, of which $187 million will replace revenue lost during the pandemic and stabilize the City's annual operating budget. As of July 2023, $194 million has been appropriated to fund priority projects that will allow the City of New Orleans to recover equitably and ensure a safe, healthy, and prosperous future for its residents.

"I am grateful to the Biden Administration and the United States Congress for allocating federal dollars that have been vital in getting our city back on track after experiencing detrimental economic losses from the pandemic. These funds provided much-needed revenue to enhance public safety and public health programs, upgrade technology, provide workforce development opportunities and replenish our fund gap that we expect will not reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025. COVID-19 devastated cities across this nation, and residents and business owners are still feeling the impacts. This critical stimulus bill has provided an opportunity to deliver on projects that have and will continue to tremendously benefit our city and this entire nation.”

–  Mayor LaToya Cantrell

Our Primary Goals

 

Transparency

Our goal is to give residents the ability to track progress and impacts.

$388M
total in ARPA recovery funds received

Equity

Our goal is to help residents in affected communities.  

$105M
for human services, infrastructure and economic development

Responsiveness

Our goal is to make changes that affect residents' quality of life. 

$90M
invested in public safety  

 

How can ARPA funds be used?

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Address negative economic impacts of the pandemic
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Support the City’s public health response
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Replace lost public sector revenue
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Provide premium pay for essential workers
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Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure

Federal funds cannot offset a tax revenue reduction or be deposited into a pension fund. ARPA funds must be allocated by December 31, 2024.  

More recovery funds information

How have ARPA funds been appropriated?

The City’s ARPA investments fall into three overarching categories:

1. Revenue Replacement

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically reduced the City’s revenues making it necessary to appropriate much of the initial funding to replacing revenue and restoring services. This revenue replacement allowed the City to avoid additional budget cuts, restore furloughs, and ensure a balanced budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 through FY2024.

2. Priority Projects

The Administration’s early fiscal responsibility allowed the City to appropriate $194 million directly to priority projects that will benefit residents, public safety, public health, and infrastructure.  

3. Administrative Support

The City has reserved a small amount of funding for critical staffing and resources needed to execute its $194 million investment in priority projects. This funding will allow the City to efficiently implement initiatives without having to redirect existing resources away from day to day operations and critical services.

Priority Project Appropriations

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The City has appropriated $194 million, more than 50% of its ARPA allocation, to fund priority projects. These projects seek to address the largest needs in New Orleans resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure an equitable recovery for all New Orleanians.

When appropriating ARPA funds, the City of New Orleans prioritizes the issues that matter most to residents:

  • Safe and Healthy Communities
  • Reliable and Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Resources and Opportunities for Our Youth

What progress is being made?

New Orleans is on the right track to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to critical federal support. Many of these programs are already under way or in development, and some will continue to support our residents and communities for years to come. 

This portal displays our commitment to getting back to the basics of community health and safety. Scroll through to learn about what programs the City is funding in each priority area, and to learn how this funding will make a difference.  

We will continue to update these measures as performance information becomes available. The figures below are accurate as of December 2023. We are working to revise them with data from the new fiscal year. 

Public Safety

Background

Like most of the country, New Orleans saw a dramatic uptick in crime during the COVID-19 pandemic. Violence increased while staffing shortages led to reductions in public safety and law enforcement personnel. Resource diversions stalled necessary equipment maintenance and infrastructure improvements. 

Investment

The Administration recognizes that maintaining public safety is critical to the overall well-being of the New Orleans community and has allocated the largest investment of ARPA funds towards this goal. The funding will support increased staffing levels through active recruitment and retention efforts, as well as upgraded public safety facilities and equipment, enabling first responders to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently. These initiatives will be complemented by several others in areas such as public health, youth services, and technology.

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Project Highlight: Justice Technology Modernization Program

Project Status: Ongoing

The Cantrell Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) program includes an unprecedented $30-million commitment to overhauling technology in the City’s criminal justice system. Outdated hardware and software force agencies to rely on paper forms and in-person interactions for routine operations, leading to delays, mistakes, and waste. Modernizing the parish’s court, jail, and law enforcement systems will cut time spent on manual paperwork, freeing police officers and other justice professionals to focus on protecting the community and delivering just outcomes. Case parties and the public at large will benefit from swifter justice and a reduction in the frustration and heartache often inherent in interactions with the justice system. 

Vision for World Class Justice Tech Infrastructure
Rapid Access to Information
Rapid Access to Information

Provides justice professionals with accurate and timely information.

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Enterprise Analytics

Supports data-driven planning and evaluation.

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Secure and Compliant

Secures confidential information and protects from external threats.

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Transparent and Accessible

Provides the public with information to evaluate justice system performance.

Project Highlight: Public Safety Vehicles

Project Status: Ongoing

The city of New Orleans is using $15 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase new public safety vehicles. The funding will purchase 49 Dodge Charger Pursuits and 29 Ford Police Interceptors for the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), 22 ambulances for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) department, and smaller purchases for agencies ranging from the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office to the New Orleans Fire Department. The new vehicles will replace aging and outdated vehicles that are currently in use by these agencies. The NOPD has not purchased new police cars in over 10 years, and the EMS department has not purchased new ambulances in over 5 years. The new vehicles will help to improve the safety and efficiency of these agencies and will allow them to better serve the citizens of New Orleans.

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Public Health & Human Services

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the challenges faced by our most vulnerable populations. The pandemic caused many relied upon services to modify or even shut down operations. Simultaneously, the compounding impacts of the pandemic caused significant declines in mental health. 

Investment

The Administration will funnel resources to address the widest service disparities among vulnerable populations. This investment will seek to address public health needs holistically to reduce the intersectional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on communities. 

Funding Opportunities

The Office of Workforce Development is pleased to announce a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) to support organizations in developing programs that empower individuals negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with the skills, certifications, and support necessary to embark on career trajectories with family-sustaining wages that bolster their long term social and economic mobility.  The future of our economy relies on a competitive, knowledgeable, highly skilled, and equitable workforce. This NOFA will distribute up to $7,410,000 with the goal of supporting comprehensive workforce development programs. More information available here.

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Project Highlight: Medical Debt Payment

Project Status: Ongoing

This project provides medical debt relief to income-qualified New Orleans residents through a partnership with a nonprofit entity that specializes in acquiring and cancelling outstanding medical debt. The vendor recruits local hospitals, health care providers, and commercial debt buyers to participate in the program and through those partnerships the vendor acquires medical debt for purposes of debt cancellation. With the allocated $1.3 million in ARPA funds, the vendor estimates being able to cancel approximately $130 million in medical debt for 50,000-60,000 income-eligible New Orleans residents. This debt cancellation will improve financial stability for residents struggling with medical debt and allow them to spend limited financial resources on other necessities, including food, clothing, or rent.

The project is also anticipated to improve health care access for residents who benefit from medical debt relief, because individuals who have medical debt are more likely to report being denied access to a health care provider because of an unpaid bill. Finally, we anticipate this project will reduce future accrual of medical debt among New Orleans residents, as the vendor will work with local hospitals and health care providers to improve their financial assistance policies to improve the ability of patients to manage their medical care costs and avoid future accrual of debt.  

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Project Highlight: Sobering Center

Project Status: Ongoing

The City of New Orleans Health Department, in partnership with Odyssey House Louisiana, has committed ARPA funds to support the ongoing operation of the Sobering Center, an endeavor that provides a safe space for intoxicated individuals to recover from immediate acute alcohol impairment under the care of trained staff. Entry to the Sobering Center is voluntary, and open to residents of all genders who are 18 years and older. The center and its mobile unit, the Sober Patrol, provides diversion from jails and emergency rooms and can connect individuals with additional care – medically supported detox and substance use disorder treatment.

  • The Sobering Center is a 25-bed facility.
  • Laundry services and lockers are available for guests' personal items. 
  • Snacks and drinks are offered to help replenish guests during their stay.
  • Guests are not allowed to bring alcohol or drug paraphernalia into the building, which must be discarded prior to admission.
  • The maximum length of stay is 8 hours, weather permitting.
  • The Sober Patrol will transport guests from the Sobering Center within reason.

Learn more

Diversion Supports diversion from jails and emergency rooms
Monitored Care Individuals will be monitored and released when appropriate
Access to Additional Care If needed, individuals can access additional care, including medically supported detox or substance use disorder treatment 
Transportation Available Individuals who need transportation to the Sober Center can call (504)439-5941 

Project Highlight: Firearm Safety Campaign

Project Status: Complete

The City of New Orleans Health Department has partnered with Children’s Hospital New Orleans and the Be SMART campaign to distribute locking gun storage at distribution events around the city. ARPA funds have been used to purchase more than 300 safes for participating residents, in a campaign focused on promoting safe storage practices for gun owners. The goal of this partnership is to reduce unsafe storage of guns which in turn will reduce accidental shootings, suicides and the number of guns stolen from homes and cars. These events began in the summer of 2023 and will continue through to the spring and the City plans to track distribution and outcomes.

  • Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens.
  • 4.6M children live in households with at least one unsecured gun.
  • In 2023 there were at least 128 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 54 deaths and 77 injuries nationally.

Learn More

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A Children’s Hospital employee demonstrating the operation of the safe.

Infrastructure

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed some of the most unique challenges New Orleans faces. Staffing shortages, resource constraints, and modifications of public services led to remediation backlogs and delays in critical infrastructure projects. Faced with the compounding threats of climate change and natural disasters, New Orleans emerged from the pandemic in disrepair. 

Investment

ARPA funds will supplement several existing infrastructure investments by committing resources to key projects. New Orleans understood the meaning of resilience long before the COVID-19 pandemic and these projects will ensure that New Orleans is able to return to pre-pandemic levels of quality-of-life and can also weather any future storm to come. 

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Project Highlight: Drainage Improvements

Project Status: Ongoing

Funding to clean 24,000 catch basins per year.

  • Two contracts for drainage improvements for all five districts were executed in Q4 2023.
  • The total value of the contract for Districts A, D, and E is $$4.7M
  • The total value of the contracts in Districts B and C is $2.7M

Project Highlight: Resilience Hubs

Project Status: Ongoing

         The City’s Office of Resilience & Sustainability has partnered with Together New Orleans on the organization's flagship Community Lighthouse Project. The project will use a combination of ARPA and Wisner Donation Fund dollars on the pilot phase to outfit and equip eight community institutions with solar panels and battery backup. The goal is to have more than 80 such hubs across the metropolitan area which will serve as places of shelter and relief for residents in the event of extended power loss from natural disasters.

“The Community Lighthouse Project emerged from a vision for an energy system that is resilient, affordable, and accessible to the most vulnerable. The Community Lighthouse Project is a critical step forward as New Orleanians work together to respond to climate-related disasters and serve the most vulnerable people in our communities. This project will strengthen community ownership over power generation and our capacity to provide care for one another when the next natural disaster strikes our city.”

–Together New Orleans

Orleans Parish Locations 16 Sites (Total) 4 Sites 4 sites
Expenses Pilot Phase ARPA Funds1 Wisner Funds2
Solar Build Cost $2,602,286 $468,469 $490,191
Battery Build Cost $2,781,989 $531,530 $509,809
Project Development Cost $549,196 N/A N/A
Program costs $527,658 N/A N/A
TOTAL $6,461,129 $1,000,000 $1,000,000

1ARPA funds will support build costs at the following locations: Corpus Christi Epiphany Catholic Church, First Grace United Methodist Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Broadmoor Community Church.

2Wisner funds will support build costs at the following locations: First Grace UMC, First Unitarian Church, Pleasant Valley Missionary Baptist Church, St. Paul Lutheran Church

Project Highlight: Convenience Centers

Project Status: Planning

The Administration is working to create residential waste drop off centers, or convenience centers. With locations selected at City-owned properties in New Orleans East and Algiers, convenience centers will provide residents with the option to dispose of household waste outside of regular curbside collection. This initiative will offer a low-barrier option for New Orleanians to dispose of waste following events such as crawfish boils, construction projects, or moving, while also discouraging illegal dumping. ARPA funding will contribute to the creation of up to two initial sites, which are being developed now in partnership with Pivotal Engineering LLC. Construction is anticipated for early 2024 with sites being available for use later that year.

Youth Services

Background

Our young people have suffered some of the greatest impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. At pivotal points in their development, their academic, social, and extracurricular lives were upended. Critical services were interrupted and performance gaps widened. 

Investment

ARPA funds will be used to strengthen programs for young people in New Orleans, to provide them with the necessary support to lead vibrant, healthy, and successful futures. Resources will be prioritized to serve the city's most at-risk youth. 

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Project Highlight: Pathways and Summer Success Programs

Project Status: Ongoing

This year the City will subsidize an ongoing project initiated by the Office of Youth and Families (OYF) using ARPA funds. OYF's mission is to enhance child well-being by coordinating agencies, expanding resources, ensuring equitable policymaking, and involving youth and community input. The Summer Success and Pathways Programs, a three-year initiative by OYF, in collaboration with the WK Kellogg Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Foundation, address the lack of youth workforce development capacity. These programs connect services with disadvantaged youth, providing them with employment opportunities and year-round workforce assistance to improve their economic mobility, safety, and overall well-being. The pilot programs aim to engage system-involved youth, gather data for stakeholders, inform future design conversations, and encourage additional investment. They focus on employer engagement, case management, stipend incentives, and skills training to guide youth towards positive pathways and ultimately improve community safety. OYF has formed a team of experts in youth/workforce development and mental health/wellness to lead program design and implementation. Key stakeholders include internship providers, supportive service providers, and referral partners.

Learn more

Pathways Program 
  • 15-week program that teaches life skills and work readiness to system-involved youth through mindful mediation, mentorship, and creative arts 
  • Paid internships 
  • Financial literacy training 
  • Conflict resolution training 
Summer Success Program 
  • 6-week summer work readiness and soft skills training in fun and creative learning environments over the summer 
  • Youth are matched with community-based paid work experiences 
  • Social worker case management 

Community and Economic Development

Background

Families, business, and communities felt the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing restrictions on daily life. As public services halted or diminished and revenue streams decreased, many of the drivers of economic development in New Orleans were stymied. Workforce shortages caused by the pandemic threatened and delayed catalytic development projects locally and nationally.

Investment

The Administration will use ARPA funds to invest in projects, initiatives, and projects that will generate recurring revenue, increase wealth, and provide opportunities within local communities. Targeted investment in the most historically underserved neighborhoods will work to ensure equitable development across the city. Funneling public funds toward projects that benefit New Orleans economically from the bottom up will help secure a prosperous future for all New Orleanians.

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Project Highlight: Regional Business Park Improvements / Six Flags

Project Status: Planning

Funding has been granted to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) for predevelopment activities associated with redevelopment of the former Six Flags site in New Orleans East. A partnership with Bayou Phoenix as lead developer, has been agreed to with plans to transform the area into a waterpark as well as a family entertainment center, sports complex, and movie studio. 

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Project Highlight: Financial Stability & Asset Building Program

Project Status: Planning 

Funding will provide direct support grants to financial stability programs focused on asset building, credit and financial counseling, soft skills, and access to banking and other critical needs to alleviate poverty and provide for generational wealth building.  This project will deploy up to $5 million with the goal of reaching 2,500 low- to moderate-income (LMI) participants over three years. Multiple large grants will be allocated through a competitive process to directly support existing financial stability programs that can scale up and serve hundreds of new participants. These programs will include universal basic income, baby bonds, safety net funding, workforce training and much more. Program providers will be selected based on the responsiveness of proposals, research-based and innovative approaches, past success in increasing economic mobility, capacity to scale programs quickly, funding, and in-kind contributions that can be leveraged, and the number of participants that can be served. 

The Office of Economic Development plans to release a Notice of Funding Announcement in Q3 of 2023 with programs starting on January 1, 2024. 

 

 

 

Asset building
Financial literacy and credit counceling 
Workforce training
Educational attainment 
 

What comes next?

The Administration will track and monitor progress of the newly funded priority projects. Our focus is on directing and monitoring our investments to reach those most severely impacted by the pandemic. As they develop, this portal will be updated to reflect the progress made.

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Reports