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ARCH sees spike in homelessness during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 20:16:57-04

LAFAYETTE — One growing struggle in Acadiana right now is homelessness and an organization is working around the clock to get people a place to stay.

The Executive Director of The Acadiana Regional Coalition of Homelessness (ARC'H), Leigh Rachal, says they usually see about 30 families per month coming into emergency shelters. Since COVID-19, they are receiving 20 calls a day.

"We do not have enough funding for all 20 calls. So we are having to help them work through, think of family members they can call," Rachal said.

She says because of the pandemic, shelters had to space out beds, eliminating space for many. Through private funds ARCH has placed 100 families in hotels, but that money is running out quickly.

"We are anticipating government funding will be made available to assist with this, but wheels of government turn pretty slowly, so those funds are not yet available. I like to compare this to a hurricane; neighbors need to help neighbors" Rachal says.

Now she worries even with an increase in funding, there won't be a quick fix.

"I'm anticipating that we will still be recovering from this 18 - 24 months down the line" Rachal said.

ARCH is also partnering with other organizations to create a rent assistance program, however Rachal said those funds will be limited. Those in need of help should call 211.To donate click here.

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