‘Extreme’ street camps in New Orleans could signal significant shift in homeless population

There is a shift in the homeless population now living on the streets in New Orleans, according to Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the city’s Department of Health. “We’re seeing folks who are being forced out by our affordable housing crisis, and that’s a new population,” Avegno said. “This is a population that maybe has never been homeless before, has always had resources but now really doesn’t have those resources.”Evidence of the transient-to-local population shift could be connected to the types of shelters going up under the Pontchartrain Expressway and in the Claiborne corridor. Some homeless camps in those areas look more like permanent homes than temporary shelters. One camp is set up like a studio apartment, with rugs, matching drapes and sheets. There is even artwork propped up against the concrete on-ramp. It’s a place Lawrence Martin said he built with the power of prayer and décor salved from nearby dumpsters. “Just because we (are) out here doesn’t mean we have to live like we (are) out here,” Martin said. “I thank God for all the things he’s doing for me and for all the people he’s putting in my life.”One of the people drawn to his makeshift home has now offered Martin an apartment Uptown, he said. He hopes to move in this month. To reach more people in need, Avegno said the city plans to launch an online toolkit this week that will connect people who want to donate with homeless service groups. Avegno said the network should reduce the amount of furniture, food and clothes given directly to people who are living on the streets. She said those items often attract rodents and spread disease. “We want to bring all that love, all that compassion with those who are doing, who are really working at this from a holistic way,” Avegno said.The city also plans to relaunch the city’s partnership with United Way sometime this summer. Through that text message campaign, people can donate money to benefit homeless services in New Orleans.

There is a shift in the homeless population now living on the streets in New Orleans, according to Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the city’s Department of Health.

- Advertisement -

“We’re seeing folks who are being forced out by our affordable housing crisis, and that’s a new population,” Avegno said. “This is a population that maybe has never been homeless before, has always had resources but now really doesn’t have those resources.”

Evidence of the transient-to-local population shift could be connected to the types of shelters going up under the Pontchartrain Expressway and in the Claiborne corridor. Some homeless camps in those areas look more like permanent homes than temporary shelters. One camp is set up like a studio apartment, with rugs, matching drapes and sheets. There is even artwork propped up against the concrete on-ramp. It’s a place Lawrence Martin said he built with the power of prayer and décor salved from nearby dumpsters.

“Just because we (are) out here doesn’t mean we have to live like we (are) out here,” Martin said. “I thank God for all the things he’s doing for me and for all the people he’s putting in my life.”

One of the people drawn to his makeshift home has now offered Martin an apartment Uptown, he said. He hopes to move in this month.

To reach more people in need, Avegno said the city plans to launch an online toolkit this week that will connect people who want to donate with homeless service groups. Avegno said the network should reduce the amount of furniture, food and clothes given directly to people who are living on the streets. She said those items often attract rodents and spread disease.

“We want to bring all that love, all that compassion with those who are doing, who are really working at this from a holistic way,” Avegno said.

The city also plans to relaunch the city’s partnership with United Way sometime this summer. Through that text message campaign, people can donate money to benefit homeless services in New Orleans.

AlertMe

Source

- Advertisement -