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Officials recognize many homeless are veterans; discussions underway on plan to get funding

By Drakkar Francois

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    LAFAYETTE, Louisiana (KADN) — The recent excessive heat raises concerns that Acadiana’s homeless could soon find themselves without any shelter, especially after Gov. Jeff Landry vetoed $1 million for Catholic Charities of Acadiana.

City and state officials say many of the homeless served by Catholic Charities are veterans. Some of those officials are now working on a plan to convince Gov. Landry to reconsider funding.

The fiscal year has started for Catholic Charities of Acadiana but without $1 million in funding it relies on. It will now have to fill a $1 million hole left by Gov. Landry’s veto.

Last week, Gov. Landry issued the veto, citing the Catholic Church’s stance on immigrants. Lafayette officials believe the veto will have a bigger impact on the entire city, including homeless veterans.

“First of all, we know this problem did not start yesterday,” said Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-District 24. “We’ve been experiencing homeless in our communities for at least five years. So, this comes as a disappointment.”

According to the US Census, there are already more than 400 veterans who are homeless in Louisiana. Sen. Boudreaux believes this should never happen.

“We feel we owe an obligation to those who fought for our state and our country and have now come back home to provide them resources so that the quality of life can be something that we, as citizens, are proud of,” explained Sen. Boudreaux.

Data shows more than 80% of the people who were served by Catholic Charities last year came from the Acadiana area, and over 90% were in-state residents. Without the million dollars, many will suffer from the loss.

“To make such a decision, such a critical decision, and even if it was true, trying to correct that by damaging so many other things, I just think that’s irresponsible,” said Lafayette Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux.

Both the senator and the councilman plan to meet with the mayor-president and other city leaders to address homelessness in the Hub City.

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