Homeless Veteran Numbers Low In Acadiana
The number of homeless veterans in Acadiana is dropping, and that's not by accident.
Several agencies have been working together to bring the total number of homeless veterans in Acadiana down to 0 by the end of 2016, and they are succeeding.
"The total number of homeless veterans in Acadiana is below 1% right now, and, with just a handful of veterans still homeless here, we should reach our goal by the end of the year" says Sarah Clement, Director of Development at Catholic Services of Acadiana. "We want a 0% count on homeless veterans in Acadiana, for good!"
As of this writing, there are only 23 veterans experiencing homelessness in our 8-parish region. - Sarah Clement, Catholic Services of Acadiana (CSA)
Clement says that Catholic Services of Acadiana has been working with the Veteran's Administration for years towards achieving this goal. 10 years ago, 40% of Catholic Services' men's shelters residents were veterans. The low number today is the result of the strategy of CSA, in-depth case management, and the partnership with the VA. She also says that, as of this writing, there are only 23 veterans experiencing homelessness in our 8-parish region.
When I asked her what parameters are used when considering someone "no longer homeless", Clement explained:
Ending homelessness really means that our continuum of care organizations (the group of agencies working together for the same cause) ensure that experiences of homelessness are rare, brief, and non-recurring, in our industry this is known as functional zero. In other words, we acknowledge that people will experience homelessness but we want our system to be so functional and easy to navigate, that people will only be homeless for 30 days or less and that it will happen rarely. - Sarah Clement
Clement explained that there is still work to be done, and there are 3 ways in which the public can help:
- Sign up for CSA's blog, "Acadiana Works of Mercy", follow CSA on social media, and sign up for their email newsletters to stay up to date.
- Contribute to Catholic Services of Acadiana. The end of the year is a great time to review personal giving and consider a one-time or monthly donation. Monthly donors, or sustaining partners as they like to call them, really push the CSA's mission forward through consistent gifts. If you have a particular interest in a specific program, they do allow for gift designations.
- The third way to participate is to volunteer at St. Joseph Diner. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week and you can easily view and sign up for open shifts on their website.
If you would like to help, call 337-235-4972, extension 104.
The holidays are a great time to be thankful for what you have, and a great time to help those who don't have much - especially those who were willing to put their lives on the line for us. If you can give, give. If you can't give, volunteer. If you can't give or volunteer, share this information so that it will be seen by someone who is willing to help.