Poverty is a persistent problem in New Orleans. Pre-Katrina figures reveal that a large percentage of the city's population lived below the poverty line. The storm has only exacerbated the conditions as well as the racial pattern of who experiences poverty. Many policy makers are looking to implement changes to alleviate the destitute conditions of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Poverty is a complex issue affected by many variables. Poverty rate is dependent upon access to affordable and quality education, healthcare, housing, childcare, transportation, financial services, and food and consumer products. New policies that consider these variables should be implemented in New Orleans to effectively reduce the number of impoverished people.
New Orleans is not the only city in the U.S. that is faced with poverty issues. Many other Southern cities, such as Houston and Savannah, are actively trying to reduce their poverty rates. Based on our evaluation of these poverty alleviation programs as well as efforts elsewhere, we have arrived at some policy recommendations. The best policy options for New Orleans seek to provide financial incentives, increase access to various resources, and include innovative elements within a large comprehensive city program.