On October 27, in keeping with Mayor Landrieu's efforts to prevent, reduce and end homelessness in New Orleans, the City has announced that it has housed homeless individuals formerly living under Pontchartrain Expressway near Calliope and Baronne Street.
In late October, approximately 85 homeless individuals were moved into respite housing to await admission to permanent supportive housing, 20 were placed in shelters, and 10 were placed on buses to be reunited with family or friends in other cities.
"This is a positive first step in what we hope is a permanent housing solution for many of these individuals," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "Ultimately our goal is to make sure that all New Orleanians have a place they can call home, and that our city is clean and safe."
The City's Office of Neighborhood Services, which oversees homeless policy, has been diligently communicating with all homeless individuals throughout this process. To ensure the safety and health of all citizens, as of Friday, October 28, 2011, the area under the Pontchartrain Expressway will be closed and individuals will not be allowed to sleep or camp there. Routinely, the City's Department of Sanitation will monitor and remove any mattresses, chairs or other items, as well as pressure wash the area. The New Orleans Police Department and its Homeless Assistance Unit will regularly patrol the area.
The City coordinated relocations and respite housing in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, Volunteers of America, Travelers Aid, Metropolitan Health Services District, Grace Outreach, and UNITY of Greater New Orleans.
Earlier this year, Mayor Landrieu signed an executive order establishing the Homeless Services Working Group — an official Mayoral Advisory Committee — tasked with developing systemic solutions to ending homelessness in New Orleans. The Group is expected to deliver a report to Mayor Landrieu in the coming weeks.
The Group, comprised of a cross-section of the community representing the business, criminal justice, health care, higher education, faith-based, government, non-profit, neighborhood, and philanthropic sectors, works cooperatively with federal and state partners in order to create outcome-driven approaches based on national best practices in order to best serve the needs of the homeless and the City.
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