News

May 17, 2023 | From City of New Orleans

City of New Orleans Partners with Nonprofit for Medical Debt Forgiveness for Eligible Residents

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today signed an agreement to establish a partnership between the City of New Orleans and the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt. This new initiative aims to forgive the existing medical debt of eligible New Orleans residents experiencing financial hardship by allocating $1.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to establish a medical debt elimination program in the city. 

“This initiative will be transformational for our most vulnerable residents who may be experiencing financial instability due to medical bills,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “All of the programs we are funneling ARPA dollars toward will improve our people’s lives in several ways, from public health to overall quality of life. Medical debt is too common in our state, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic, which we know had a disproportionately hard effect on New Orleans. My administration will continue to be intentional about finding meaningful partnerships like this one to give our residents an economic boost and close the wealth gap so we can all move forward together.”  

This medical debt elimination program was unanimously approved by the New Orleans City Council last December. The terms of the agreement run through the end of 2025, and during that time, RIP Medical Debt will work with local health care providers and secondary holders of medical debt to identify, purchase and cancel the medical debt of eligible residents. The New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) will oversee program operations. 

“Historically, medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy and is directly tied to poor health outcomes, as individuals often do not seek further care if they are saddled with huge bills they can't pay,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director of NOHD. “This initiative directly ties into our Community Health Improvement Plan strategic priority of accessible healthcare. About one in seven people with debt said they’ve been denied access to a hospital, doctor or other providers because of unpaid bills. And what’s even more devastating is that many families must choose between paying off medical debt, buying food or paying their bills. This major win for patients in our city will help struggling individuals and families not have to worry.” 

“Medical debt can happen to anyone. Being sick or injured shouldn’t put anyone in debt or lead them to go broke,” said Council Vice President Helena Moreno. “Plus, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted financially and medically by COVID-19. This will provide financial reset for many families which will be a boost for them and our city as a whole. It’s a tremendous way to spend one-time federal dollars.” 

Eligible residents include: 

  • Low income, defined as having income below 400 percent of the federal poverty limit, or 
  • Burdened by medical debt, defined as having medical debt equal to or exceeding 5 percent of household income 

For the $1.3 million expenditure, RIP Medical Debt estimates that they will be able to purchase and cancel approximately $130 million in medical debt for eligible residents. In addition to negotiating the purchase of the debt, managing the cancellation and sending notifications to residents, RIP Medical Debt will also develop recommendations based on their analysis of hospital policies and practices for reducing the accrual of patient medical debt going forward.     

A December 2020 analysis of credit reports by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that about 22 percent of Louisiana's population has medical debt compared to only 2.25 percent in Minnesota. Applying that rate to the New Orleans population, this program could impact roughly 80,000 residents in the city. Moreover, people of color are disproportionately impacted by medical debt. Black adults are 50 percent more likely, and Hispanic adults are 35 precent more likely, to hold medical debt compared to white residents nationally. 

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August 31, 2016 | From City of New Orleans

#EquityNewOrleans Community Listening Session

Join us for a community listening session with #EquityNewOrleans on advancing strategies in city government, Tuesday, Sep. 13 at 6pm at the Carver Theater.

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December 8, 2015 | From City of New Orleans

4th Annual Neighborhood Summit a Success!

The Neighborhood Engagement Office, with support from NeighborWorks America, Dillard University, Foundation for Louisiana, and the Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, hosted the 4th annual New Orleans Neighborhood Summit on Saturday Nov. 14th. With over 200 attending residents, four distinct workshop tracks, participation from City agencies and community partners, and an address from the Mayor, the day was a jam-packed success!

As the Mayor stated in his address to the bustling crowd of resident leaders, strong neighborhoods are what make a strong city. This theme of strength and resilience was woven throughout the workshops focused on issues ranging from affordable housing and neighborhood participation in land-use decisions to coastal affairs and cooperative business models. Engaged participants shared their experiences and expertise in these veins and made many connections across neighborhood lines. The Neighborhood Summit aims to do just that: to facilitate relationships between residents from across the city and to give them the tools they need to strengthen their communities.

October 3, 2014 | From City of New Orleans

A Bump in the Road: Correcting, Connecting, & Coordinating Street Repairs

September Roundtable

On Saturday, September 13th the Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office held its 3rd Quarterly Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable at Holy Angels Convent. The theme of this quarter’s roundtable discussion was “A Bump in the Road: Connecting, Correcting and Coordinating Street Repairs,” featuring Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. Mr. Grant offered an overview of new coordination efforts between the City and Sewerage and Water Board.

The over 100 attendees from across the city received updates on the great work being done by neighborhood leaders including Gretchen Bradford (Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association) and Ann Leblanc (Lakeview Civic Improvement Association).

The Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable is a two-hour forum held quarterly on Saturday mornings for neighborhood and community leaders. The Roundtable creates opportunities for leadership to connect with City government to discuss City programs, initiatives, issues, and trends. It is also designed to foster partnerships among neighborhood associations by promoting cross-organizational learning and collaboration on localized solutions experienced within their communities.

May 1, 2017 | From City of New Orleans

A Celebration in Hollygrove-Dixon

On Saturday, April 29, Hollygrove-Dixon neighbors gathered for a ribbon cutting and christening of the Celebration Church Life Transformation Center at 8606 Marks Street. Residents and Celebration Church parishioners were ecstatic about the new addition to the neighborhood, as Pastor Dennis Watson, Neighborhood President Brenda Lomax-Brown, and Center Director Rhia Smith delivered words and performed the ribbon cutting. 

The Life Transformation Center of Hollygrove-Dixon will provide the following services: 

  • After-School Program
  • Senior Citizen Program
  • Mentorship Program
  • Computer Literacy 
  • Reading Proficiency

The Neighborhood Engagement Office would like to congratulate the great people of Hollygrove-Dixon and look forward to being a part of their continued success.

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December 2, 2017 | From City of New Orleans

A Successful 2017 Neighborhood Summit

On December 2nd, Neighborhood Engagement Office in partnership with Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED), hosted over 400 leaders from across the city at 6th annual New Orleans Neighborhood Summit. This year's theme was Celebrating 300 years of Resilient Neighborhoods: Laying a Strong Foundation for the Future. The theme was centered on strengthening resident’s capacity to build a stronger more resilient city and provide a platform for building stronger relationships between neighbors, community partners, and local government. This theme of strength and resilience was woven throughout the workshops focused on issues ranging from affordable housing and community policing to coastal affairs and emergency preparedness. Engaged participants shared their experiences and expertise in these veins and made many connections across neighborhood lines.

Throughout the day, leaders engaged with over 25 city and nonprofit agencies ranging from the Health Department, NORDC, NOLA Ready and the Office of Resilient and Sustainability. Following the resource fair, Mayor Landrieu provided remarks to the bustling crowd of residents on the importance of public participation and accountability. During his remarks he welcomed Mayor-Elect Cantrell and they both discussed the importance that of a successful transition as well as for the need for government accountability.

During the closing program, the office launched the anticipated Tricentennial Neighborhood Grant program, announced the winners of the neighborhood photo contest as well as distributed awards to community leaders who've contributed to making New Orleans more resilient. This event was truly a success, as residents left informed and connected to initiatives and opportunities to  do their part in ensuring that together, we can make  New Orleans a more resilient city. 

Thanks to our sponsors, Restore the Mississippi River Delta, J.P. Morgan Chase and NOLA for Life! Learn more about restoring our coast, why it’s critical to New Orleans, and how you can help at www.mississippiriverdelta.org.

September 10, 2015 | From City of New Orleans

A Thank You Message from Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Dear Friends:

Thank you for your contribution to the Citywide Day of Service on Saturday, August 29, 2015.

Volunteers exhibited leadership and commitment to our collective goal of engaging an unprecedented number of volunteers and building citywide resilience. 

This signature event marked the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Over 10,000 volunteers from down the street and around the world participated in one of the most unique and comprehensive service initiatives in our nation’s history.  Partnership between faith-based, education, non-profit, corporate, small business and neighborhood organizations along with thousands of committed individuals led to our success. 

We will sustain this spirit of service across New Orleans neighborhoods and we can only move forward together as one team, one voice, one fight, one city. 

Please click here to view pictures from the Citywide Day of Service.

Following commemorative events, we invite you to learn more about Resilient New Orleans – a concrete, strategic roadmap for the City of New Orleans to build urban resilience.

Sincerely,

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Mitch Landrieu
Mayor, City of New Orleans

September 25, 2017 | From City of New Orleans

Adopt-A-Catch Basin District Clean-Ups

Adopt-a-Catch Basin: District Clean-ups

 

You are welcome to volunteer to clean catch-basins in any district you choose. To select a clean-up day that works for you, click here.

*CANCELLED* District C Westbank

Where: 3301 Eton St. New Orleans, LA 70131

When: October 7, 2017 from 9am-11am (arrive at 8am)

*CANCELLED* District C Eastbank

Where: St. Roch Church, 1738 St. Roch Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117

When: October 7, 2017 from 9am-11am (arrive at 8am)

District B

Where: Taylor Playground, 2600 S. Roman St. New Orleans, LA 70125

When: October 14, 2017 from 9am-11am (arrive at 8am)

District E

Where:  Lake Forest Charter School, 11110 Lake Forest Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70128

When: October 21, 2017 from 9am-11am (arrive at 8am)

District D

Where: Beacon Light Church, 1937 Mirabeau Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122

When: October 28, 2017 from 9am-11am (arrive at 8am)

District A

Where: Brooks Shaw Temple United Methodist Church, 8818 Pear Street, New Orleans, LA 70118

When: October 28, 2017 from 9am-11am (arrive at 8am)

Register here

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August 7, 2017 | From City of New Orleans

Affected by the August 5th flooding? Here's what you can do.

On August 5th, as much as 8 to 10 inches of rain fell in isolated areas of the city within three to four hours. Many neighborhoods of the city saw rainfall amounts equaling a 1 percent chance of occurring in any year, a so-called 100-year event. Community organizations are our partners in preparedness and response, and several have stepped up to the call for assistance in the aftermath of this event. For more information on these volunteer opportunities, how businesses can help, or if you have been affected in any way by this storm, please utilize the information and resources by visiting NOLA Ready.

August 8, 2017 | From City of New Orleans

Announcing the Fall 2017 term of Civic Leadership Academy

The Neighborhood Engagement Office would like to announce the next term of its most popular initiative, Civic Leadership Academy (CLA). This is an engaging 8 week program that provides residents with an in-depth look at City government. The program includes tours, hands-on demonstrations and presentations that give participants an insider view of how the City of New Orleans operates. With this knowledge, participants will be better equipped to lead collective action towards the advancement of neighborhoods and residents’ quality of life.

What is Civic Leadership Academy?

The Civic Leadership Academy is a free program that gives residents the opportunity to educate themselves about City government so that they can improve their communities. It provides an in-depth look at local government as well as opportunities for residents to interact with City staff and elected officials.  CLA is composed of eight interactive sessions, led by representatives from City departments

Who can participate in Civic Leadership Academy?

Individuals who live or (work) in New Orleans, are at least 18 years old, and who are actively involved in a neighborhood or business association can participate.

Schedule

CLA will meet weekly on Wednesday nights from 6:00pm-8:00pm from September 6th  through October 25th  at City Hall, Homeland Security Conference Room (8E15) located at 1300 Perdido St.

Courses

(Tentative course schedule)

Week 1: The Organization and Vision of City Government
Week 2: Planning for Tomorrow
Week 3: Developing and Revitalizing Our Communities
Week 4: Dollars and Sense: Financing NOLA’s Needs
Week 5: The Mechanics of City Government
Week 6: Policing and Crime Reduction
Week 7: Emergency Preparedness and Response
Week 8: Graduation and Looking Ahead

Apply online or download application and return to the Mayor's Neighborhood Engagement Office in City Hall 8E15.  Applications must be received no later than August 18, or until we reach capacity.  In order to maximize participant’s interaction and to address space restraints, class size will be limited to 35 participants. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by August 25, 2017. For more information on Civic Leadership Academy please click here.

April 22, 2015 | From City of New Orleans

April Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable Highlights Resilience

Despite pouring rain,* we had a great turnout of neighborhood leaders who attended this quarter's roundtable on the topic of resilience. Mayor Landrieu and Jeff Hebert, Chief Resilience Officer and Executive Director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, emphasized how important neighborhood organizations will be in developing a resilience strategy for the City of New Orleans.

Highlighting a series of less commonly used examples of resilience--including youth mentorship programs and community farming initiatives--Mr. Hebert stressed that a resilience strategy must include more than just natural disaster preparedness. He offered a working definition of city resilience as "the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience." Neighborhood leaders were then asked to discuss in small groups what strengths exist in their own communities that make them able to bounce back from shocks. Community members are encouraged to continue to share examples of resilience, which will be compiled and put into a "map of resilience." For more information or to share your neighborhood's strengths, visit nola.gov/resilience.

After the presentation on resilience, Ryan Berni, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, announced plans in preparation for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and how neighborhood organizations can get involved. The City will launch a K10 website in the coming weeks that will outline these plans, which will include a city-wide day of service.

Stay tuned for the next Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable in the 3rd quarter of 2015.

*A few umbrellas were left behind on Saturday. If you are missing your umbrella, call us at 658-4980.

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