ARCH’s collective mission is to ensure that everyone in Acadiana has access to decent, affordable, stable housing and that all episodes of homelessness are rare, brief, and non-recurring.
Unfortunately, due to COVID, multiple hurricanes, and other economic issues, many people in Acadiana are hurting. There has been a significant increase in homelessness and domestic violence, while concurrently, a dramatic decrease in available emergency shelter beds. We know that as the eviction moratorium is ending, we will see even greater numbers of people left homeless. Resources are scarce, and we are already unable to meet the needs of everyone who is reaching out, asking for help.
The good news is that there are real, systemic solutions that could shape a future where those who are experiencing homelessness get the care and support that they need. ARCH and its partner agencies have been working together for months to develop these solutions.
Currently, limited shelter opportunities exist for families with minor children, people fleeing domestic violence, veterans, those who are HIV+ or who have AIDS, and people living outside of Lafayette Parish. Again, it is important to note that these resources are limited.
The joint shelter solution would provide additional shelter opportunities to the aforementioned populations as well as households outside of those categories (ex. single adults, adults with adult disabled children, etc.). Additionally, the site would not only include emergency shelter, but some affordable housing, so that clients who have more complex challenges can regain stable, productive lives. This solution is seeking a property that is easily convertible to a one hundred room plus non congregate shelter.
Locally, the cost of shelter is approximately $55 per night. The cost of jail is estimated to be between $62 to $67 per night. With shelter, food, basic necessities, and supportive services like case management included, shelter solutions are not only the more cost effective option, but the solution with the greatest outcomes for success.
Eight coalition member agencies are offering to co-create the joint shelter solution.
They include: ARCH, Catholic Charities of Acadiana, The Outreach Center, The HUB – Lafayette Urban Ministries, Beacon Community Connections, Faith House of Acadiana, Family Promise of Acadiana, and AcadianaCares.
Together, these agencies, along with dozens of additional organizations who have signed on in support, will work collectively to: provide outreach services; staff and operate a clean, decent non-congregate shelter; offer food services; provide case management support; extend programmatic activities to clients that may include workforce development, support groups, and faith based activities; offer housing navigation case management and/or onsite shorter-term affordable housing.
The Price Tag
We are asking that LCG partner with this coalition to provide funding in the amount of $6.5 million. A permanent, low-barrier, non-congregate homeless emergency shelter ($5.5 million) and support for Faith House ($1 million)