Mayor Landrieu Details Homeless Initiatives

New Orleans, LA – Mayor Landrieu says past programs to deal with homelessness have never been as strained as those in New Orleans.
"First of all, the city got beat to hell by a historic storm that destroyed, hurt, 500,000 physical units and destroyed 250,000 houses. There's never been a city in the history of America or one in the world that's had to rebuild from that."
Unity of Greater New Orleans says that on any given night in the city, 204 families are homeless, with 32 living in their cars, on the streets or in abandoned buildings. He's creating an interagency council to implement a plan that includes federal health, housing and veterans' programs. He says partners also include the private sector, faith-based organizations and the philanthropic community.
One goal is to scatter housing throughout the city, especially in areas where pockets of blight could be renovated, with help from neighborhood associations. Another is using the old V-A hospital in downtown New Orleans for a 24-hour resource center. The Downtown Development Council will focus on its area to find transition programs for the homeless.
The plan did not include estimates of how much the programs would cost.
"Some people ask the question as though it's always going to be new money. The point here is to take money that already exists and actually move them in a targeted direction so you can get a greater value from them."
Landrieu says the council will also develop a system to coordinate medical and mental-health treatment programs along with job training.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.