BATON ROUGE, La. - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $20.9 million will be allocated to help fight homelessness in Louisiana. Of that money, $1.65 million will go to Baton Rouge.
The money is part of an Emergency Solution Grant that will help make more emergency shelters available for homeless individuals and families, operate those shelters, provide hotel/motel vouchers to help get people off the streets, and provide services to people who are suffering from homelessness.
One of the shelters likely to benefit from such funding is St. Vincent de Paul. While the shelter has not experienced an increase in numbers due to coronavirus related shutdowns, it has seen its costs go up as it must provide personal protective equipment and other protective measures to all guests, staff members, and volunteers.
“Those are costs that we didn’t have last year at this time,” said Michael Acaldo, president and CEO of St. Vincent de Paul. “Those are challenges we didn’t have last year at this time, and so that all goes together, so today, it costs a lot more to run a shelter than it did just four months ago.”
Shelters must apply for the grant money before they receive it.
Acaldo says the money should be coming in at a time when numbers are likely to increase as restrictions on evictions start to lift.
“We’re anticipating a big surge is coming in August, September, October, November, and December,” he said. “That is when the surge is going to hit.”
While the money will help, Acaldo says the budget will only get tighter, especially if homelessness spikes in Baton Rouge. He says his shelter will still need to rely on donations from the public.
Visit https://svdpbr.org/donate to donate.