About Signs of Life

Pictured, left: Key members of UNITY's street-outreach team, at the collaborative's 2014 annual meeting. From left: Brandi Gaines-Girard, Demetra Phoenix, Jocelyn Scott, Clarence White, and Laniker Hunter-Davis.

Almost every night, UNITY's street-outreach workers comb abandoned buildings and streets of New Orleans, rescuing the community's most vulnerable people. We're making progress: the homeless population has decreased 83 percent since its post-Katrina peak of 11,619 people.

Finally, this year, the homeless population dropped below pre-Katrina levels. But many frail and vulnerable people still remain unhoused. This blog describes our daily highs and lows as we struggle to house the most vulnerable while rebuilding our beloved community.

Blog

Mr. Griggs, a US Navy Veteran of 15 years, is finally home!

Mr. Griggs, a US Navy Veteran of 15 years, is finally home!

| December 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

This blog was written by Sara Siegfried, Jesuit Volunteer Corp volunteer with UNITY of Greater New Orleans. Sara is playing a major role in helping New Orleans end veteran homelessness.   This is Ray Charles Griggs, Sr. I encountered Mr. Griggs two weeks ago while doing intake at the Ozanam Inn homeless shelter. Mr. Griggs […]

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The Runner: a blog from UNITY's outreach team

The Runner: a blog from UNITY’s outreach team

| March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

That night we saw someone new, a young lady sitting on a filthy mattress, brushing a mangled wig while rats ran around her feet. A new blog from the streets of New Orleans, by UNITY outreach worker Laniker Hunter-Davis, pictured with her longtime outreach partner, Joycelyn Scott.

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The doctor is now IN

The doctor is now IN

| December 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

I couldn’t tell you the first time I ever met the Mayor of the Square. I was probably standing in the shade from the Cabildo in Jackson Square, listening to the square’s ad hoc brass band along with wandering tourists and locals passing through the Square. That’s how most people have met him.

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Now able to house Manuel Justin.

Now able to house Manuel Justin.

| December 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

The UNITY we are today is able to house more chronically homeless people like Manuel Justin. After Hurricane Katrina, UNITY reinvented itself to respond to an explosion of homelessness. This summer, a New Orleans partnership led by UNITY further finetuned the way our teams approach and house New Orleans’ most vulnerable people. Manuel Justin, 62, […]

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Disabled and homeless, he relied on people's kindness.

Disabled and homeless, he relied on people’s kindness.

| December 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

But now, with support from UNITY, Mr. Dawson is housed and is learning to do things himself. This blog post is by Emily Leitzinger, a case manager at UNITY’s award-winning Rosa F. Keller Building, a UNITY-owned apartment community for the working poor and for disabled people rescued from homelessness. On a cold night in 2010, I gave my […]

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A look back at 2012: decimating the "Tenacious Ten" list

A look back at 2012: decimating the “Tenacious Ten” list

| December 21, 2012 | 1 Comment

By Mike Miller, UNITY’s director of supportive-housing placement There is one simple vindication for all the daily frustrations of being an outreach worker — the disjointed, the systems of broken systems, the personal ravages of the street of those living on it. This last blog of the year pays homage to all the empty doorways, […]

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Housing Uncle Jesse

Housing Uncle Jesse

| December 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

                                                           By Mike Miller, UNITY’s director of supportive-housing placement Sometimes I have trouble explaining what I do for a living.  When I say I work with the […]

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We never lose

We never lose

| September 11, 2012 | 4 Comments

We never lose.  Sometimes it just takes us a while to win. It’s the same tired refrain I often use when a long week has thoroughly kicked my ass, leaving me contemplating my career ambitions and wondering if full-time bartender would be a more fulfilling vocation.  Peeling off a dingy, sweat-stained yellow outreach shirt and […]

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I’m not going anywhere -- I’m home

I’m not going anywhere — I’m home

| July 13, 2012 | 1 Comment

Today’s blog is by UNITY outreach worker Demetra Phoenix. The day started as any other work day would. I went to an outreach meeting first thing in the morning.  On the agenda was the weekly discussion of how to get into housing those homeless people we are most worried about because of their severe mental […]

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The Answer is 232.

The Answer is 232.

| April 5, 2012 | 5 Comments

The answer is 232.  At least it is for Coleman.  It’s the question I get every time I present at conferences about outreach: “How do you get people into housing who have been on the street for years, even decades, who just don’t want to go in?” I’ve been seeing Coleman every week for the […]

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