NEW ORLEANS, LA–This week, as the White House released the first Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative Annual Report, Mayor Mitch Landrieu praised the unique federal partnership's efforts in New Orleans.
Click here to read the complete Strong Cities, Strong Communities Annual report.
“SC2 in New Orleans is a great example of how federal and local government can complement each other to affect positive change in communities,” Mayor Landrieu said. “The frustration for all cities is that government needs to work better, whatever our party. SC2 has helped to break down stovepipes between federal agencies.”
New Orleans SC2 Team Lead R. Erich Caulfield said, “SC2 is not about better government collaboration for its own sake,but about a more effective partnership, one that helps more New Orleanians get access to health care, housing, and support .”
In 2011, the Obama Administration launched the SC2 Initiative as a forward-looking partnership between mayors and the federal government to foster economic growth in economically distressed cities. Teams of federal employees are embedded with seven Mayors across the country to provide tailored technical assistance to cut through red tape, increase government efficiency, and build partnerships to help local leaders implement sustainable economic plans.
Working in collaboration with the city, among a variety of projects, the SC2 team helped accomplish the following:
Cut through a significant amount of red tape to launch the City’s $52 million Soft Second Mortgage Program; to date nearly 300 residents have become first-time home owners through the program.
Developed the City’s Behavioral Health Strategic Framework and establish the New Orleans Behavioral Health Council. Due to this improved planning and coordination, the number of residents seeking help for behavioral health in emergency rooms has decreased by 26% since April of 2012
Made use of a largely unknown and rarely used waiver policy to help find housing for nearly 50 homeless individuals. Existence of the policy is now being shared with communities around the country as a potential means of helping homeless service providers better serve their clients
Moved a $4 million roadway repair project in Pontchartrain Park forward through the use of an innovative new pilot program. SC2 team members used a Department of Transportation pilot program to combine federal funding sources under a single contract, and allow a local hiring preference for vendors – previously not thought possible because one of the federal agencies restricts such a preference. New Orleans was the first city in the country to make use of the pilot, which not only enabled the City to move ahead on an important infrastructure project, but also helped to pave the way for its use in other communities around the country.
Prevented substantial reductions in service delivery in the city’s community health clinic system. The team facilitated conversations among government officials at the federal, state, and city levels that extended the timeframe for submitting claims for reimbursement. This effort kept funding flowing to the clinics, kept them from drastically reducing services or closing down operations, and enabled them to continue to serve their communities; the SC2 team also collaborated on a longer term project to better meet the community’s needs and support the system’s financial stability.