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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Homelessness among women and children have been identified as an epidemic in the community. Nearly half of the children who live in New Orleans live in poverty. A quarter of the children who live in neighboring Jefferson Parish also live in poverty.

That’s why New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City Council have declared today homeless women and children awareness day.

A large majority of them live on the edge of homelessness, and it doesn’t take much to push them over the edge. Now in its 10th year of operation, the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter is part of the solution to this issue.

The shelter has served more than 1,200 women and children and continues to stay filled to capacity. A large majority (95%) of the children at the shelter are under the age of 10. An astonishing 88% of the families helped since 2007 have transitioned to sustainable, independent living.

“Because of the growing number of homeless women and children in New Orleans we felt that it was important to team up with the Mayor’s office to declare this day as Homeless Women and Children Awareness Day,” said director of the women and children’s shelter Dawn Bradley-Fletcher. “In conjunction with that we decided to implement several programs within the shelter to make sure that we are addressing all of the needs of homeless women and children.”

The women and children are permitted to stay at the shelter as long as necessary. They receive three meals a day, and two snacks, have full access to free laundry and computers to do school work or apply for jobs. In the last week, four women have been placed in jobs and are on their way to earning a living suitable to support their families.

To donate to the New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter, click here or drop a donation off at 2020 S. Liberty Street, in New Orleans central city.