United Way reopens Mortgage and Rental Assistance Fund, IDA Project 


Projects included in United Way’s year-one investments from MacKenzie Scott gift


NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) announced Thursday the reopening of its Rental and Mortgage Assistance Fund and Individual Development Account Project (IDA), a matched savings program for low-income households.  

The reopenings were made possible by MacKenzie Scott’s $10 million contribution to UWSELA, the largest gift in its 96-year history.

“Even as our community’s recovery improves, more households than ever are struggling to make ends meet” said Cathy McRae, UWSELA Board of Trustees Chair. “By increasing access to two of our high-demand services and making immediate investments with MacKenzie’s support, United Way is demonstrating our commitment to supporting our neighbors in need to ensure they survive this financial crisis and are more stable to weather the next.”

The Rental and Mortgage Assistance Fund will provide a one-time grant to help with housing costs for families and individuals with a loss of income related to COVID-19. 

Interested applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Reside in UWSELA’s service area, including Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes
  • Household income at or below $51,000
  • Proof of job loss or reduction in hours due to COVID-19

Application instructions are available online at UnitedWaySELA.org/ RentMortgage

Additionally, UWSELA is accepting new applications to its IDA Project, which helps participants purchase assets through a 4:1-savings-match toward a new home, home maintenance, vehicle, small business or post-secondary education.

To receive the full match, participants must deposit at least $25 each month, remain in the program for at least six months until reaching their savings goal, and attend financial education and asset-specific trainings to prepare for their purchase. 

Eligible IDA participants must also reside in UWSELA’s service area and meet income/net worth requirements available for review at UnitedWaySELA.org/IDA

Please call 504.827.6862 or 985.244.6580 on the Northshore to inquire about participation. 

Scott’s Lasting Impact

Scott selected UWSELA for a donation last December following a thorough review of nearly 6,500 organizations, which accelerated its ability to fund the proven strategies for creating systemic change and equitable communities as outlined in its Blueprint for Prosperity

Following the gift, UWSELA began work to open the doors to its new Northshore Prosperity Center. The center, located at 834 N. Colombia St. in Covington, utilizes a one-stop approach to provide low-to-moderate income participants with a series of financial capability education programs and services.

UWSELA also used Scott’s support to match public investments in its Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative (LA-PRI). The program offers wraparound support to individuals in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes who need help returning and staying home after incarceration.  

Upcoming investments utilizing the Scott contribution include:

“Our team and volunteers have recommended high-impact, sustainable funding opportunities that will create long-term, systemic change in our communities,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO. “We want MacKenzie’s gift and its impact to touch the lives of everyone in our community for generations to come. It’s the only path to a stronger, more equitable Southeast Louisiana that everyone deserves.”

Stay up to date on UWSELA’s latest news and offerings at UnitedWaySELA.org and by signing up for its weekly newsletter here


About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.