The Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families (OYF) on Wednesday (May 3) announced the launch of the New Orleans Guaranteed Income Program through a $500,000 grant from Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI).

The program will serve 125 young people between the ages of 16-24 who are unemployed and not enrolled in school. They will receive a monthly cash payment of $350 for the next 10 months.

The program builds upon Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Office of Youth and Family’s commitment to supporting at-risk and vulnerable youth, say City leaders, adding that the guaranteed income payments will increase participants’ financial stability, connect them back to supportive services such as education or job programs, and decrease stress and other risk factors associated with economic insecurity.

“The launch of the New Orleans Guaranteed Income Program is an exciting moment for our city,” says Mayor Cantrell. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the number of disconnected youth significantly increase. We launched this program as an opportunity to get much-needed, unrestricted cash in people’s pockets at a time where we know our people need it the most. This program builds on my administration’s efforts to invest directly in the lives of our youth and my priority to improve quality of life for all residents.”

The City has partnered with nine community-based organizations to refer eligible participants to the program including Collegiate Academies, ALAS, Youth Empowerment Project, New Orleans Youth Alliance, Educators for Quality Alternatives, Healthy Start, New Orleans Public Schools and Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. The program also partnered with United Way of Southeast Louisiana to provide benefits counseling to all participants.

“I’m so glad to be participating in the New Orleans Guaranteed Income program because it gives me an opportunity to take care of my family,” said Laurin Lombard, a 22-year-old resident and program participant who lives in New Orleans East with her 10-month old child. “I’ve been able to use the money to pay for transportation to bring my baby to the doctor’s office, run errands, and buy groceries for my family. In the future, I plan to save some of the money so I can go back to school to get my degree in cosmetology and business and pay for childcare for my 10-month-old baby.”

Initial findings from guaranteed income programs across the country show that they improve recipients’ financial stability, health and overall well-being. To ensure the efficacy of this pilot, the City of New Orleans is partnering with the Center for Guaranteed Income Research through the University of Pennsylvania and Tulane University to conduct an evaluation. Surveys and interviews will be administered to participants throughout the program.

“Mayors for a Guaranteed Income is incredibly excited the City of New Orleans is launching its guaranteed income program,” says Sukhi Samra, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Executive Director. “As one of the first MGI pilot cities to focus its cash payments on young people, New Orleans is helping to expand guaranteed income opportunities for young people across the country. We look forward to working in partnership with the City of New Orleans and their community over the next ten months.”

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