Ending Homelessness in New Orleans

Success and Lessons Learned Post Katrina

UNITY of Greater New Orleans On February 18, 2014, Martha Kegel with UNITY of Greater New Orleans opened the lunch at the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness with a reflection on both her personal and the community’s experience after Hurricane Katrina.

Her comparison contrasted the situation of families with and without resources. While they were impacted by the storm, Kegel and her middle income family had a safety net to fall back on. Low-income families did not have that luxury.

In despite of the long recovery from Hurricane Sandy, New Orleans is ending homelessness.

Homelessness in the city has dropped 80% since 2007 and those working to end homelessness learned at least two key lessons:

  • “Housing First and Rapid Re Housing absolutely work.” Through Housing First, a tent city in New Orleans has been shut down. And after 3 years, 80% of rapidly re-housed families remain permanently housed; and
  • “Treat homelessness as the emergency it is.” Homelessness shortens an individual’s lives. As one’s health deteriorates, there is no opportunity for a normal family life.

Kegal called the audience of over 800 gathered at the conference to action.

“Let’s recommit ourselves to the righteous battle … Let’s speed the day when every child and individual has the safety of home.”

Click here to learn more about UNITY of Greater New Orleans.