With freezing temperatures on the way, there is an appeal to help those most in need.
Acadiana's first freeze could come over the weekend, in the days that follow expect more freezes and perhaps an ice storm.
The Acadiana Regional Coalition for Homelessness and Housing expects about 300 families and individuals will need housing over the next few days. Because of the pandemic, group shelters aren't an option.
ARCH is looking at thousands of dollars to put them up in hotels, but they can't do it alone.
"It is unacceptable for folks to be outside in this freezing cold. It's dangerous temperatures.”
ARCH director Leigh Rachal says they're working to make sure those most vulnerable have a place to stay.
"We've been putting this appeal out all winter and the community has responded but fundraising has kept up with the costs," Rachal explained. "We're going into this week needing to raise the funds for this week. We're turning to the community again to say, 'Can you help us get folks inside for this next cold snap?'"
In a Facebook post Lafayette Police Chief Thomas Glover says he's working to address the homeless population in Acadiana. Although he hasn't revealed what that plan will entail, he's made contact with ARCH.
"Homelessness in itself is a complex issue. It takes government, for profit, nonprofit, faith communities, everybody working together to solve it. I'm really grateful the police chief is willing to engage in these conversations and to work with us."
Through their winter housing program, homeless people can stay in a hotel room overnight. Although the community has offered help, Rachal says more is needed.
"These are people who've lived in our community for years who have hit rough times and we will not see them in this cold weather. We're determined to get it done and just need the community."
If you'd like to help, visit bit.ly/freezefund to make a safe donation. If you'd prefer to send a check, please mail to: ARCH, PO Box 3936, Lafayette, LA 70502.
For more information about giving options, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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