Friday, December 2, 2011

Mayor Landrieu Reveals 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness

Already with one of the nation’s biggest population of the homeless, New Orleans officials, as well as Federal representatives have been putting in extra time to commit to a plan to end to the numbers of homeless people in the city. Mayor Mitch Landrieu revealed a 10 year plan to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday in an effort to put an end to the heavy amount homeless issues that have stricken the city since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Recent estimations of New Orleans population of homelessness pointed towards 6,500 people living on the streets. The 10 year plan is set to include more construction on housing, as well as a center built within the Veterans Affairs Department hospital in downtown. The picture of homelessness is said to become even more visible with the recent Occupy demonstrations near City Hall, where many of the homeless have come together with the regular protesters.

The plan will aim to use the Veterans Affairs Department hospital as a public center where those who are in need of employment and housing can receive help. The original veterans’ hospital was damaged in Hurricane Katrina, but an upgraded facility is expected to open in 2013. The construction and coordination of New Orleans apartments and homes for the homeless is expected in the long term. City representatives are planning on working with development organizations in an effort to have over 2,000 beds for the homeless, as well as over 500 beds for families in need.

Another of the primary objectives of the plan will be establishing a group of experts to deal solely with the issue of homelessness. This group will be named the New Orleans Interagency Council on Homelessness and they will be fitted with the responsibility of being in charge of the entire 10 year plan. Mayor Landrieu believes that the city government will look to money that is already there for targeted use in an effort to support the plan.

Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city of New Orleans has struggled with homelessness of course, but also with unemployment and poverty. The city has worked to provide housing for about 2,000 people since Katrina in 2005, but this new plan should allow for a larger target for services.

Another of the main goals of the approach will be to not only allow aid for those who are already homeless, but also those who are at risk of becoming homeless in the near future. With one of the largest populations of homeless people in the entire nation, the public-private plan to help end homelessness over the next decade should be welcomed as it will likely maximize resources in ways that they haven’t been used to combat homelessness before.