Winter comes a little later in Acadiana, but it comes, and the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing needs some help so they can help our neighbors.
Acadiana’s first freeze will be tonight, with a low of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and continuing cold nights through the weekend. Due to COVID-19 and concerns for community spread, there has been a dramatic decrease in available shelter beds since March, ARCH officials say.
Those beds will remain unavailable throughout the winter. That means many experiencing homelessness may have no other option than to sleep on the street during the coming freezes.
Throughout the pandemic, ARCH has been able to utilize local hotel and motel rooms as a temporary housing solution. From there, ARCH case managers work individually with clients in order to transition them to permanent housing.
ARCH is very proud of their success in keeping clients safe from COVID-19 and on their way to long term stability, but they need the community’s help now to swiftly move those who have no choice but to stay out in the cold into temporary, safe shelter.
“It doesn’t have to be very cold for people to suffer from exposure,” says Leigh Rachal, Executive Director of ARCH. “When you’re just sitting still for an hour outside, you start to realize how impactful the cold really is. Everyone needs a safe place to get in out of the cold.”
ARCH is seeing the number of unsheltered people grow, and winter is here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created conditions that can easily lead individuals and families to lose their housing. Some have lost jobs entirely, while others face reduced hours. Assistance can help to cover costs, but for some people, these funding sources have already been exhausted.
ARCH works with each client to ensure that they have access to safe, affordable, and stable housing and that any episode of homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring.
“In order for us to house everyone in need for just two nights, we are looking at a cost of about $3000,” Rachal says. “If you consider that we will have multiple freezes throughout the winter, you see that we just can’t do it without our communities’ support.”
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.