NEW ORLEANS – June 15, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, in keeping with Mayor Landrieu’s efforts to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness in New Orleans, the City of New Orleans sheltered 43 homeless individuals from multiple areas across New Orleans and conducted a thorough cleaning of the surface parking lots under the U.S. 90/Pontchartrain Expressway.
On Monday, June 8, 2015, the City of New Orleans Health Department issued a Public Health Advisory to close the area under the U.S. 90/Pontchartrain Expressway overpass from Tchoupitoulas to S. Claiborne including the Margaret Place Park bounded by Camp, Clio, Prytania and Calliope, the area under I-10 along S Claiborne from Earhart to Orleans, Duncan Plaza bounded by Perdido, Gravier and Loyola, Lee Circle and the area under the I-10 on/off ramps at the Carrolton exit, and the public right of way adjacent to the New Orleans Main Library between Gravier, Loyola and Tulane due to health hazards. The area contained an accumulation of debris, food products, garbage, and waste, all of which was attracting rodents.
Homeless services outreach workers, volunteers, and City staff began informing individuals camped out in the area that this area would be closed to the public beginning Friday, June 12, 2015. The team, coordinated by the City’s Office of Community Development, began assisting homeless individuals in identifying available temporary housing at area shelters.
To ensure the safety and health of all, the area under the U.S. 90/Pontchartrain Expressway overpass from Tchoupitoulas to S. Claiborne including the Margaret Place Park bounded by Camp, Clio, Prytania and Calliope, the area outlined in the Public Health Advisory has been closed to the public, and individuals will not be allowed to sleep, camp or park there. The City has posted notices that no one is allowed within this area until further notice and has placed chained gates to prevent vehicles from entering the area. Any automobiles found parked in this area will be ticketed and towed.
Since the issuance of the Public Health Advisory on Monday, June 8, 2015, approximately 43 individuals have been admitted into area shelters. Admitted clients have been connected with services that will link them to housing, mental and physical health, and job training options.
During the effort and on an ongoing basis, the City coordinated relocations and shelter housing in partnership with UNITY of Greater New Orleans, Travelers Aid, Harry Tompson Center, New Orleans Mission, Salvation Army, Ozanam Inn, Covenant House, Downtown Development District, Health Care for the Homeless, Department of Health and Hospitals, Metropolitan Human Service District, Catholic Charities, Southeast LA Legal Service, Hope Center LA, and Volunteers of America. The New Orleans Health Department coordinated onsite health screenings and consultations.
“This effort was an important collaboration between multiple service partners in the best interests of all who live in New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “No one should have to live on the streets. Our coordinated, aggressive effort to reduce homelessness both connects our homeless population with vital services and hopes to put them back on the path to permanent housing. Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that all New Orleanians have a place they can call home and that our city is clean and safe.”
“We have been focused on improving the quality of life for all New Orleanians, across the board, particularly for the most vulnerable in our community,” said Charlotte Parent, Director of the City of New Orleans Health Department. “Today’s efforts will reduce the risk of harm and health hazards in the impacted area.”
The City’s Department of Sanitation sent manual workers as well as mechanical street flushers and sweepers to clean this area. All mattresses, chairs and other items have been removed. The Downtown Development District and New Orleans Fire Department provided additional support to the clean-up effort by deploying high-powered pressure washers and workers to the area. The New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board have begun assessing the area for rodent control work. The New Orleans Police Department and its Homeless Assistance Unit will regularly patrol the area.
In order to prevent individuals from congregating in this area again, the NOPD will closely monitor the area. The City is finalizing arrangements for managed control of the surface parking lots under U.S. 90/Pontchartrain Expressway so that they may be utilized for vehicle parking.
The City requests that the public direct all donations, especially food, to area shelters and homeless service providers and not distribute on public rights of ways.