Archive for December, 2011
Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS — Homelessness is on the rise across the country, with the number of homeless kids up by 33 percent over the last three years.
Those statistics are part of a study released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, which also ranks Louisiana as the third worst state when it comes to homeless kids.
“Four of them share this room and I would love to get them some bunkbeds and things like that for their room,” said Haley, giving a tour of her unfurnished new home. Right now, air mattresses serve as beds.
Four days ago, life was very different for this family. They had no roof over their head and no place to call home.
“A lot of my friends they didn’t even know I was homeless. I didn’t want to put that burden on them and I knew I had to stand up for myself,” said Haley.
The entire seven-member family was living in an Isuzu Trooper with their dog, Angel.
“My eldest daughter slept in the front with me and the rest of them slept in the back,” said Haley, describing the close quarters.
Her daughter Willnika remembers what it was like sleeping next to her brothers and sisters in the cramped SUV for almost two months.
“It was hot, and I was thirsty and hungry,” said Willnika.
Her mother said she left an abusive relationship in Dallas and moved back home to New Orleans.
However, Haley said she was greeted by skyrocketing rental prices, one of the after effects of Hurricane Katrina. Unable to pay $1000 a month in rent, Haley said she was forced to move her family onto the street.
“I told them, we’re sleeping in the car. We’re homeless, and we’ve gotta keep faith in God,” said Haley.
“We’re finding everyone from various walks of life who are now experiencing homelessness,” said Katy Quigley with UNITY of Greater New Orleans.
The agency says the Haley family is just a small piece of a bigger homelessness puzzle that unfortunately includes kids.
“It’s so sad to get calls from social workers every day talking about families who are in their schools, who don’t have a place to sleep that night or are getting evicted,” said Quigley.
“Now I feel better. We’ve got stuff to eat, and we got water and juice,” said Willnika about moving into a house.
As for Haley and her young kids, turning to UNITY for help now means this mom can breathe a sigh of relief just in time for the holidays.
“Its a blessing because its like really my first happy Christmas. My children don’t have toys or anything but I thank God for being in a home,” added Haley who has plans to start nursing school in January.
The National Center On Family Homelessness estimates that 1 in every 45 American kids are homeless.
UNITY of Greater New Orleans says there were 3,000 homeless kids in the metro area in 2010.
“People think because you dress a certain way or act a certain way, you don’t be homeless, but truly you be homeless,” said Natasia Haley, who spent Tuesday night reading with her kids after they arrived home from school.View Post
And he didnt move into the White House. He moved into homelessness.
This Andrew Jackson was honorably discharged as an Army Private after Vietnam. He was awarded four medals in his service to our country.
He returned home after the horror of war.
Already stricken with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his time in the service, Mr. Jackson later endured another set of horrors which worsened his condition – his parents drowned in their family home in New Orleans East as a result of the levee failures that followed Hurricane Katrina.
The UNITY Outreach Team found Mr. Jackson living in the destroyed home where his parents tragically died. He was 61 years old, suffering from severe disabilities, and had lived there for years with no lights, water or heat. During those years, he suffered a heart attack, but he still continued to live in subhuman conditions, suffering from further trauma to his already fragile emotional health.
Last year, just before Christmas, UNITY placed Mr. Jackson in his new apartment through a program for homeless people with disabilities. The services and supports he receives through the program help him remain stably and permanently housed.
Now that he is no longer homeless, Mr. Jackson is doing well. He reads his bible, meditates, and socializes with his neighbors. His health has improved, he has friends, and he has the opportunity to starte a life free from the trauma of homelessness, while he continues to heal from the many traumas he has already endured with the ongoing support of UNITY and case managers through UNITY’s partner agencies.
Mr. Jackson’s story is one of many tragedies and injustices that UNITY encounters on a daily basis. Throughout our city on any given night, more than 9,000 people are living with the pain of homelessness.
UNITY works every day to end homelessness for people like Mr. Jackson. Some are veterans. Some are elderly. Some are mothers with young children. All are vulnerable and in need of our help. Will you join us today in creating an end to homelessness for others like Mr. Jackson?
UNITY works to make sure that our neighbors like Mr. Jackson will never know the pain of homelessness again. Your gift today can help us serve many more people who are homeless right now. Click here to make a donation.View Post