Homelessness in Louisiana is down 68% over the last seven years. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s yearly Point-in-Time count.
Louisiana Housing Corporation Executive Director Keith Cunningham credits this decrease to hard work by his agency to help individuals living on the street.
“What we’ve been able to do is find them a place to stay to create some sense of stability, then we work at providing the other services that may be helpful to keep them in the home and to help make them productive members of society.”
The count showed there was just below 4,000 homeless people in the state in 2016, down from 12,500 in 2009. Cunningham says this decrease surpassed expectations. He credits the state for making homelessness more of a priority.
“It really is about focusing on it, creating the effort, identifying the funding, creating a seamless approach to address the issue is just one part of the puzzle, it’s the hard work that really gets it done.”
One program used to combat homelessness is the Continuum of Care, which funds a rapid re-housing project. Cunningham says drug abuse and mental illness are some factors that play into homelessness. He says last August’s devastating floods could also become a problem, as many victims are stilling living in hotels or with family members.
“We don’t want those individuals to go from temporary situations, not necessarily sustainable, into a homeless situation, we want to catch them before.”