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Hurricane victims and homeless sheltering in hotels for weather

United Way of Southwest Louisiana sheltering community members in area hotels
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Posted at 11:41 AM, Jan 22, 2022

LAKE CHARLES — United Way of Southwest Louisiana secured hotel rooms for hurricane victims and the homeless when the threat of below-average winter temperatures was announced.

The nonprofit's 211 resource line registered close to 700 individual families needing a warm place for the incoming freezing weather, according to Friday's press release.

"We are housing 634 people tonight in nine local hotels," says Denise Durel, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Louisiana. "I'm distressed by the 434 community members that requested a room, and we could not fulfill the need."

United Way of Southwest Louisiana provides breakfast, snacks and some lunches, with partners providing the rest, they say.

Catholic Charities of SWLA and AETNA Better Health of La also offer meals to guests.

The Louisiana National Guard is providing bottled water for guests at several locations.

In its relief efforts, United Way of Southwest Louisiana says it provided rooms to Water's Edge for their homeless program.

"We are cognizant of the many individuals needing assistance during these winter storms," says Durel. "Our mission is the long-term impact, but we always act swiftly during emergencies to ensure no one has to suffer. We are also hopeful that we can help some of these individuals with the root cause of their homelessness and move them forward in their life."

Thursday night, the team provided 455 individuals with rooms in seven hotels, but a gift from St. Michael and All Angel’s Episcopal Church enabled that number to grow to 634 individuals at nine area hotels or motels.

To assist United Way of Southwest Louisiana with sheltering local community members during winter's inclement weather conditions, text keyword WINTER to 40403 or online at

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