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Public is Invited to Our Presentation on the Homeless in Acadiana
Friday, May 6, 2016
The public is invited to attend a presentation entitled “Homelessness in Acadiana.” The presentation is part of a continuing series of events discussing the complex issues facing our community and our criminal justice system. The two hour presentation and discussion will take place at the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Complex located at 1825 W. Willow on Friday, May 29th at 1:00 p.m.
Presenters will be Kimberly Boudreaux, Executive Director of Catholic Services of Acadiana, Eric Gammons, Director of Operations of Catholic Services of Acadiana, and Rob Reardon, Director of Corrections for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. Together they will be discussing issues, sharing information, and answering questions about homelessness in Acadiana and how charitable services and the criminal justice system can work together to create lasting solutions. Possible cooperative and cost effective approaches, including successful initiatives being used in other communities will be discussed. This program is presented as a partnership of Catholic Services of Acadiana and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Here in Acadiana, like across the nation, economic factors are the main cause of homelessness, namely a lack of employment opportunities that pay a living wage and access to affordable housing. There are many other co-occuring factors that contribute a persons experience of homelessness. According to national surveys about 25% of people experiencing homelessness suffer from some form of mental illness. The high cost of health insurance, lack of access to public health services or public health benefits play a major role in finding effective treatment for those experiencing homelessness with mental health concerns. Drug and alcohol addiction affects about 20% of those without homes, who, because of a lack of access or housing stability, do not receive proper treatment or support after treatment. Complexities such as mental health concerns, substance abuse or addiction require service providers to have a multi-faceted response the needs of community members currently experiencing homelessness.
Though our jails are often the only place treatment and medication are continually available, and our shelter provide temporary relief, these systems should not be be seen as solutions because they are the most expensive and least effective way to deal with theses challenges. Local social service organizations, like Catholic Services of Acadiana and the criminal justice system in are working together to respond effectively, efficiently, and affordably to these social issues by modeling their services after nationally recognized, evidence based solutions. Together they are envisioning a better Acadiana where everyone has a safe place to sleep at night, the food they need, and access to develop resources to the best of their ability.
All interested are invited to attend, including the general public, local mental health care and substance abuse treatment providers, and the media.