NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The nation’s top organization dedicated to ending homelessness is in New Orleans to discuss solutions.

The visit from the National Alliance to End Homelessness comes as homelessness in the Greater New Orleans area rises.

“Well, New Orleans is experiencing a number of the same challenges we’re seeing in other communities,” National Alliance to End Homelessness CEO Ann Olivia said. “Really high rents, low vacancy rates, and increase in unsheltered homelessness.”

According to a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Unity of Greater New Orleans, there are nearly 600 people living on the streets in New Orleans.

However, the spokeswoman says there are about 4,000 people who escaped homelessness being housed.

“And I owe many things to Unity and Hotel Hope because they gave me the hope shot I never received but more than anything, I want to give that hope shot to someone else,” a speaker who escaped homelessness said.

Nathaniel Fields, the director of the city’s new Office of Homeless Services and Strategy, was also in attendance.

Fields says he’s working on a strategic plan to connect people with necessary services and create more affordable housing, as well as short-term solutions.

“[We’re] also thinking about alternative sheltering processes, so looking at some models that worked in different locations that could possibly work here as well,” Fields said.

Olivia says they’re already looking ahead to next year to find ways to end homelessness.

“What we’ve been asking for from Congress, in the 2024 appropriation, is at least a $200 million increase,” Olivia said. “That will help us make sure we have enough money to pay our workforce.”

Unity of Greater New Orleans is on track to receive federal funds this summer, which are said to help house more than 400 people permanently.

Related Stories

Stay updated with the latest news, weather, and sports by downloading the WGNO app on the Apple or Google Play store and subscribing to the WGNO newsletter.