- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - Federal funding totaling more than half a million dollars will continue to help Rapides Parish’s homeless population through a variety of nonprofit programs.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development renewed a grant for $613,296 to be divided among five agencies, each of which assists the homeless community in Central Louisiana.

The Cenla Chemical Dependency Council’s Supportive Housing Program received $224,489; the Volunteers of America Supportive Housing Program received $159,011; Hope House received $131,666; Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition received $59,353; and Innercity Revitalization’s Olive House received $37,667.

The Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition serves as the lead agencies for collective impact, coalition director Kendra Gauthier told The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/1tJPSKC).

“We’re all working toward a common goal of permanent housing, emergency shelters and homelessness prevention in Central Louisiana,” she said.

Each January the homeless coalition conducts a count of homeless people living in Alexandria. This year they counted nearly 200, some of whom are transient, and some of whom were temporarily homeless. Gauthier said on any given day, there could be 35 to 40 chronically homeless people living on the streets of Alexandria.

Chronic homelessness means a person has been homeless four or more times within a three-year period or has been homeless for at least one year consecutively, and has a diagnosable disability.

Last year, the Cenla Homeless Coalition placed 38 chronically homeless people or families in permanent housing.

“Without this grant we would not be able to house the homeless or provide support services, such as case management, to the chronically homeless,” Gauthier said.

Cenla Chemical Dependency Council has existed for five years, and in that time the staff has permanently house about 150 chronically homeless people, program director David Brocato said.

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com

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