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Catholic Charities responds to Gov. Landry's million-dollar funding veto

state capitol
Posted at 11:26 AM, Jun 27, 2024

LAFAYETTE, La. (KATC) — Shelter services for Acadiana's unhoused population are in jeopardy following a recent move by Governor Jeff Landry.

Landry vetoed $1 million in funding for homeless shelters in the Lafayette area, operated by Catholic Charities of Acadiana.

KATC contacted the governor's team for a statement:

“We have been carefully reviewing the spending bills in an effort to protect the public treasury, and we believe that NGO’s who have solid private charitable donations should live within those means—not through taxpayer dollars. I look forward to understanding in greater detail why Catholic Charities needs taxpayer dollars and how they would use that money.”

“As you can see from their website, part of Catholic Charities mission is to support the influx of illegal aliens into our country. Taxpayers should never foot the bill for nonprofits who are contributing to the illegal immigration crisis our nation is facing. I don’t believe a majority of the legislators would support this either. I look forward to understanding in greater detail why Catholic Charities needs taxpayer dollars and how they would use that money.”
Governor Jeff Landry

According to The Advocate, the decision was part of his broader action to cut $4.5 million from nonprofits in our state's latest $48 billion budget.

We reached out to Catholic Charities of Acadiana for a statement and received the following in full from Chief of External Affairs Ben Broussard:

We are deeply saddened to learn that Governor Landry has vetoed the $1,000,000 in supplemental appropriations previously included in HB 1, which were designated to provide emergency homeless shelter funding for Catholic Charities of Acadiana. Currently, Catholic Charities shelters 87 homeless individuals nightly, offering safety to those experiencing homelessness in Acadiana.

With Catholic Charities of Acadiana being the largest provider of shelter in the Acadiana region, the vetoed funding will have a crippling impact on its ability to sustain shelter services within the fiscal year 2024/2025, which begins July 1.

"The vetoed shelter appropriations are a significant setback to our pro-life efforts to care for our vulnerable neighbors experiencing homelessness," said Kim Boudreaux, CEO of Catholic Charities of Acadiana. "Our shelter serves as a critical lifeline for 87 individuals each night who have nowhere else to turn. We face an uncertain future for those who seek shelter with us as a last resort."

Last year, Catholic Charities sheltered 410 unduplicated individuals in its emergency shelter. Of those, 81% originated from the eight-parish Acadiana region, 10% originated from a different parish in Louisiana, and 9% originated from out of state. Before entry into the shelter, Catholic Charities of Acadiana assesses the possibility of reconnecting the person with their natural supports because of the traumatic nature of an experience of homelessness. Last year, Catholic Charities of Acadiana successfully diverted 60 households from an experience of homelessness by helping to reconnect them to natural support systems. Also last year, Catholic Charities of Acadiana returned 135 individuals from its shelter to permanent housing.

As a pro-life organization dedicated to upholding the dignity of all human life, Catholic Charities of Acadiana represents a comprehensive response to homelessness, hunger, poverty, and situational crisis in Acadiana. Since 1973, its programs have represented a response to the Gospel call to carry out the corporal works of mercy.

Catholic Charities of Acadiana urgently advocates for an allocation of local, state, and federal funding to be adequately appropriated to address the root causes of homelessness, the critical basic needs of Lafayette's homeless (such as shelter and food), and an investment in evidence-based solutions to transition those experiencing homelessness to affordable and stable housing with appropriate community-based supports.
Ben Broussard

KATC will add any updated responses to this story as they come in.

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