Temperatures in Orleans Parish are expected to drop to at or near freezing on Thursday night, prompting the City of New Orleans to put its freeze plan for the homeless into effect.
The freeze plan is enacted whenever the temperature or the wind chill factor is expected to fall to 35 degrees or lower. Temperatures near freezing, combined with the strong winds affecting the region, can cause serious medical problems to people exposed to them for extended periods of time.
Laniker Hunter-Davis is an outreach worker for UNITY of Greater New Orleans. She and her partner, Joycelyn Scott, drive and walk around the city trying to reach the hardest-to-reach homeless people. One night, I tagged along.
“The first place that we’ll be stopping is at Washington Park. It’s off of Elysian Fields. We have a lady that’s in that park with her dog, and she can’t utilize the shelters because of her dog. So we gonna go check on her.
Unity of Greater New Orleans Executive Director Martha Kegel explains a major drop in homelessness.
The number of homeless people in Orleans and Jefferson parishes has dropped 79 percent since 2007. A non-profit dedicated to getting those numbers even lower credits a coordinated effort for the success.
U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu says $1.4 million in grants has been set aside for Louisiana organizations to prevent homelessness among veterans.
Landrieu said Tuesday the money was awarded through the Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program, which is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs' initiative to end homelessness among military veterans.