NEW ORLEANS — Today, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued the following statement on the launch of “Returning Citizen Stimulus Program,” a collaboration between the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) and its partners:

“I am grateful for the partnership the City has with CEO, as well as the Justice and Mobility Fund, Urban League of Louisiana, The First 72+, Total Community Action, and Operation Restoration, to provide immediate support to people coming home from incarceration. Through this collaboration, our returning citizens are able to access the financial assistance they so desperately need during this crisis. We must work together to meet the immensity of the challenge reentry poses during this pandemic, which is plaguing the justice system and having a disproportionate impact on communities of color. The time for bold action is now, the lives of our most vulnerable people depend on it,” said Mayor Cantrell.

The Returning Citizen Stimulus (RCS) Program will provide immediate income support to thousands of individuals returning home from incarceration. CEO has made this assistance available to its program participants in all its 28 sites across the country and has extended this project to partner organizations in six cities hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, including New Orleans. The project is being funded by the Justice and Mobility Fund, a collaboration launched by The Ford Foundation and Blue Meridian Partners with support from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which aims to boost economic mobility and improve the life trajectories of people impacted by the criminal justice system.

To implement this project in New Orleans, CEO is partnering with the Urban League of Louisiana, The First 72+, Total Community Action, and Operation Restoration on the implementation of this project. These providers are also working in close collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and the City’s Office of Criminal Justice Coordination — Triage Team to receive referrals for the project. This targeted effort has the goal of serving up to 600 people coming home in New Orleans, out of 8,800 people nationally. Participants will receive up to $2,250 paid in three monthly installments; helping individuals with their immediate financial needs while also encouraging them to stay engaged with reentry providers in their community.

“We are excited to be part of this partnership with CEO. Collaboration amongst providers is essential to meet the challenge of this time and provide wrap-around support services for those returning home,” said Syrita Steib, Executive Director, Operation Restoration.

“Just as the federal government is providing a majority of Americans with a stimulus payment, we need to provide direct financial assistance to our friends and family members returning home from incarceration and connect them to supportive services at this critical time,” said Troy Glover, New Orleans Director, CEO.

“The stimulus payment gave me a way to get ahead on my bills. It shows that people can genuinely care about returning citizens. It means more than what you can imagine. I just want to thank everyone that made this possible!” said Robert Williams, CEO participant and recipient of RCS. CEO has implemented this project with support from state and local governments.

“The nonprofit community has been critical to our fight against COVID-19. This project represents exactly the kind of collaboration we need during this crisis,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

“As more people are coming home from prison and jail to New Orleans, we have relied now more than ever on our service provider partners to support people when they return to our communities, particularly those that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. The investments we’ve made in these partnerships are critical to sustain, and they are fundamental to public safety and provide the support for people to successfully return home,” said James LeBlanc, Secretary, Public Safety and Corrections.

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