Seven months ago, out of a desire to provide safety to the unsheltered, Catholic Charities of Acadiana made a decision to begin operating a low barrier shelter. A low barrier shelter operates every night of the year and is offered to every person who needs shelter.
“Every night that someone sleeps on the streets of our community and faces the elements is an emergency that requires a response,” says Ben Broussard, Director of External Affairs for Catholic Charities of Acadiana. “We consider inclement weather to be only one of the elements people living on the street experience. Other elements are the inherent dangers posed to someone sleeping on the streets, such as violence, theft, and harassment.”
The low barrier shelter utilizes the common space within St. Joseph Shelter for Men and provides each low barrier resident with a sleeping mat, blanket, food and water.
St. Joseph Shelter for Men and St. Michael Center for Veterans provide shelter for 50 individuals and operate an near full capacity every night of the year. On average an additional 35 individuals are offered shelter through the low barrier shelter at St. Joseph Shelter for Men.
While the intent is to provide a sleeping alternative to the outdoors and not to necessarily provide supportive services like case management, CCA views the low barrier shelter as another opportunity to create and maintain relationships with people experiencing homelessness in our community and connect them with other essential resources needed for housing stability.
Though this program has been a strain on resources, CCA will continue to provide this service as long as they are able and the need exists. There are two ways to support our work at St. Joseph Shelter for Men and the Low Barrier Shelter.
1. Consider purchasing essential items through our Amazon shopping list. Visit catholiccharitiesacadiana.org/amazon
2. Become a monthly donor, your generosity sustains our work. You can dedicate your donation directly to St. Joseph Shelter for Men which houses the low barrier shelter. You can make your donation online at