Baton Rouge area shelters at capacity despite recent report of decrease in homelessness

Study says homelessness decreasing, but some shelters disagree

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana reported a decline in homelessness, at 7 percent, according to a survey done in 2018 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, some shelters across the Baton Rouge area say they are seeing different numbers.

Miriam Overton, director of development for the Salvation Army, says their facility has been at capacity for weeks.

“Over the past year, the Center of Hope emergency shelter has seen a kind of upward trajectory of men seeking shelter,” said Overton.

Overton says the non-profit has put in 20 additional cots, and they aren’t the only shelter reporting an increase

“We have seen a larger increase. In my 30th year here at St. Vincent de Paul, and I’ve never seen so many homeless,” said Michael Acaldo, president and CEO of St. Vincent de Paul. Acaldo says development, especially in the downtown area, could play a role.

“I think it has a lot to do with cost of living going up. We have seen more of that locally, but it’s a national trend,” said Alcado.

Davis Rhorer, director for the Downtown Development District (DDD) says they have also seen a decrease in line with HUD’s survey.

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