The economic downturn spurred by the virus is further increasing the risk of housing instability for low-wage renters, especially in New Orleans, at a time when stable housing is vital. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that the hourly wage needed in New Orleans to afford housing is about $20.73 – far surpassing the state's current minimum wage of $7.25.
With the expiration of enhanced weekly unemployment benefits, even substandard housing is now out of reach for countless individuals.
To further complicate the matter, food insecurity is rapidly increasing across the country. In 2018, Feeding America estimated that around 16% of Southeast Louisiana residents were food insecure. Today, nearly 24% of residents are experiencing food insecurity – many for the first time.
A leading group of New Orleans area nonprofits and philanthropists – including United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Methodist Health System Foundation, Inc., The Goldring Family, and Pres Kabacoff - created a joint effort to address the COVID-19 housing and food insecurity crisis.
We are making a joint plea to the region's entire philanthropic community to secure the gifts and funding necessary to stabilize our community.
We hope you will join us in our continued fight to serve the most vulnerable among us. Now is the time to demonstrate a UNITED front and empower our philanthropic leaders to address the dire needs of Southeast Louisiana. If you or your organization would like to make a donation, please email Michelle Payne.
WHERE TO TURN
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, a United Way SELA Community Partner, provides free, civil legal aid to low-income people, including legal assistance for landlord-tenant issues and more.
https://slls.org/ | Toll-Free: (877) 521-6242 | Local: (504) 529-1000
Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center (LaFHAC)
LaFHAC’s work throughout Louisiana includes educational offerings, free legal services for victims of housing discrimination, policy advocacy, and foreclosure prevention counseling.
https://lafairhousing.org/ | Main: 504.596.2100 | Toll Free: 877.445.2100
Families for Families
Families for Families is a rental assistance fund aimed at helping housing insecure families through the COVID-19 pandemic, without the fear of eviction, by providing a portion of the families’ rent burden for the year.
J. Wayne Leonard Prosperity Center
Offering mortgage assistance with free services that include financial coaching, access to public benefits, community workshops, free tax preparation, and essential job readiness training
UnitedWaySELA.org/ProsperityCenter | (504) 822-5540
Second Harvest Food Bank
Second Harvest Food Bank leads the fight against hunger in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response. Second Harvest provides food and support to 700+ community partners and programs across 23 parishes.
Share Our Strength
Millions of children in America live with hunger. A hungry child can't learn, can't focus, can't reach their full potential. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in our country.
ABOUT THE FUND
Before COVID-19 hit Southeast Louisiana, more than one in two households struggled to afford basic expenses or save for an emergency. Now these families – and many more – are in crisis.
Inequities existed before this pandemic. The virus' disproportionate and disparate effects are magnifying gaps in access to resources in many parts of our community.
With health risks, businesses and schools shuttered, and unemployment spiking, it's harder than ever before for people to afford their basic needs, with housing and food rising to the top of the list.
The economic downturn spurred by the virus is further increasing the risk of housing instability for low-wage renters, especially in New Orleans, at a time when stable housing is vital. The National Low Income Housing Coalition examined the hourly wage needed in Louisiana to afford housing, which would equate to $20.73 in New Orleans – far surpassing the state's current minimum wage of $7.25. And with the expiration of the additional $600 in federal weekly jobless benefits, even substandard housing is now out of reach for countless individuals.
To further complicate the matter, food insecurity is rapidly increasing across the country. In 2018, Feeding America estimated around 18% of Orleans Parish residents were food insecure. Today, nearly 24% of residents are experiencing food insecurity – many for the first time.
The pandemic continues to expose the economic fragility and widespread hardship this community faces.
Our philanthropic community must combine forces to support individuals in our community who are struggling to survive. United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Methodist Health System Foundation, Inc., The Goldring Family, and Pres Kabacoff are committing resources to address the food and housing crises threatening the lives of our neighbors.
But we know it is not enough.