Catholic Charities has joined six other local housing organizations in asking Lafayette Consolidated Government for a more permanent solution to homelessness — $6.5 million to purchase an out-of-use hotel that would be retrofitted into a permanent, low-barrier, non-congregate shelter.
December’s booster shot of federal stimulus will send $7 million in rent and utility assistance to Lafayette Parish, a figure that dwarfs previous local allocations but that advocates say still falls short of projected need. LCG is working through how to get the money out quickly.
Closing the shelter was in the works before the pandemic. But the loss nevertheless comes at a bad time.
Housing advocates say it’s a testament to the swift action taken to stand up emergency housing, isolate people at risk, rearrange facilities to allow for social distancing and communicate the threat to the people they work with.
Lacking adequate healthcare, those who are unsheltered are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Local shelters are already at capacity, and more people are becoming homeless each day. It’s a public health problem, according to advocates.