UPDATE: Lafayette Police Chief Thomas L. Glover Sr. has posted a statement about the department's efforts regarding the homeless.
Last week, we posted some pictures of the department's mounted unit doing a sweep of Lafayette homeless encampments. That post was met with a response by the local homeless coalition.
Today, this statement from the chief was posted on the LPD Facebook page:
"The Lafayette Police Department is diligently working on a partnership with the community aimed at addressing the homelessness in our city. Last month, we began collaboration with some stakeholders for the sole purpose of conducting a Point-In-Time count. Measures of this nature are periodically used to locate, identify, and accurately count the homeless population. The data is used to determine what resources/services (medical, mental health, etc) are available to help those in need. Stay tuned for updates, as we invite the community to join in these efforts," Glover says.
After the post of police officers on horses looking for homeless encampments, the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing issued a statement.
LPD posted photos of the department's horses, saying the mounted unit helped out with a sweep of homeless camps today. The post included a list of homeless shelters - none of which, ARCH says, can accept anyone at this time.
Here's what ARCH posted:
"In response to LPD’s social media post regarding the Mounted Unit’s efforts to sweep homeless encampments, a few points of clarification:
- In an effort to reduce COVID-19 transmission, the CDC has recommended a temporary suspension of sweeps due to a shortage of open congregate shelters and in an attempt to reduce the number of people bunking together indoors.
- Due to concerns for community spread, there has been, conservatively, a 77% decrease in available congregate shelter beds since January 2020. LPD’s social media post offered a number of resources available to those needing shelter. However:
* Lighthouse Shelter is at reduced and maximum capacity. There are currently NO AVAILABLE shelter beds, and it is a family shelter.
* St. Joseph’s and Emily House are operating only through their hotel program and CANNOT ACCEPT ADDITIONAL PEOPLE at this time. Both are family shelters, so are not available to take in single men or women, even when able to accept new clients.
* SMILE DOES NOT operate a shelter for those experiencing homelessness.
"ARCH takes the needs of those experiencing homelessness very seriously. With a mission to ensure that all episodes of homelessness are rare, brief, and non-recurring, we are an ever available resource for metrics, information, and collaborative solutions. We respect the work of law enforcement, and look forward to participating in community-wide, problem solving conversations," the post states.
The post appeared on the LPD Facebook page.
"Our Mounted Unit saddled up along with officers to walk through a few fields in Lafayette. The goal was to locate and identify homeless encampments. Transit camps can negatively impact the community and the environment. Fires started in these woods could spread to nearby neighborhoods causing severe property damage. Also, inadequate human waste disposal can pose hazard to water supply in nearby communities," a Facebook post on the department's page states.
The post also includes this list of Lafayette shelters for both men and women in need:
Emily House: 337-232-4357
St. Joseph: 337-233-6816
They included some photos of the camps they found: