Rubinger Fellow Juanita Woods is a community development practitioner and city council member in Monroe, LA who specializes in helping people skill up to take on living-wage jobs with local employers. She spoke with LISC about her fellowship project to provide apprenticeships for young people, the challenges of wealth-building in historically underserved communities, and the inspiration she gets from empowering youth on their life journeys.
In honor of Veterans Day this year, we are highlighting Perry Point Veterans Village, an extraordinary supportive housing community for homeless vets created by HELP USA in tandem with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, NEF and many other dedicated partners. The development was 10 years in the making and involved a veritable high-wire act of aligning bureaucracies and funding sources and overcoming political opposition. The result is worth the struggle: 75 safe, affordable homes for veterans who'd been surviving on the streets and now have a bona fide new lease on life.
Kelly Orians is an attorney, a 2019 Rubinger Fellow and the co-director of the First 72+, a ground-breaking New Orleans re-entry program for people returning from incarceration. Orians spoke with LISC about the state of criminal justice in Louisiana, the challenges and successes her clients experience, and how her organization is helping lift the burden of entrenched bureaucracy and predatory debt that keeps so many people from gaining real freedom after release.