Two agencies that interact with Acadiana’s homeless population on a daily basis will host a discussion next week on the reasons some people have no homes and the complexities surrounding the issue that prevent easy remedies.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and Catholic Services of Acadiana will present the free two-hour discussion beginning at 1 p.m. May 29 at the Public Safety Complex, located at 1825 W. Willow Road in Lafayette.
“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,” Julio Naudin, a Sheriff’s Office official, said in a release.
Naudin cited national surveys that show one out of every four homeless men and women suffers from mental illness, and that one in five has a drug or alcohol addiction.
Health insurance often is not available to this segment of the population, Naudin said, and law enforcement and the nonprofits that try to help them need assistance in crafting multi-faceted responses.
Catholic Services of Acadiana, an organization within the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette that began in 1973, operates St. Joseph Diner, St. Joseph Shelter for Men and St. Michael Shelter for Veterans.
Sheriff’s Office personnel routinely encounter homeless men and women suffering from mental illness or addictions, Naudin said.
“Though our jails are often the only place treatment and medication are continually available, and our shelters provide temporary relief, these systems should not be seen as solution because they are the most expensive and least effective way to deal with these challenges,” he said.
Experts scheduled to speak at the Friday, May 29, event are Catholic Services of Acadiana officials Kimberly Boudreaux, executive director; Eric Gammons, director of operations; and Sheriff’s Office Director of Corrections Rob Reardon.
The three will answer questions and discuss better ways to fight the problem, Naudin said.